On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Badgers (0-4-2 Big Ten, 2-10-3 overall) will be facing off against Northwestern Wildcats (3-3-1 Big Ten, 7-7-1 overall). Last Friday, the Badgers tied in a hard-fought battle against Michigan, in a game that ended in a stalemate after two overtimes. It was not until the 75th minute of play when the Badgers put up points on the scoreboard from a penalty kick by Noah Leibold. Michigan scored one goal due to an own goal from the Badgers.
The game showed the Badger’s defensive strength, after lacking defensive pressure and execution all season long. Along with defensive improvement, the Badgers were aggressive in a way the team has not seen this season. Four yellow cards were handed to the Badgers, but their aggression is a step in the right direction for a lackluster season.
That defensive momentum along with offensive urgency could spur the Badger’s first conference win this Friday. However, Northwestern will be a tough opponent as the Badgers continue to trod through a rough season.
Northwestern is coming off of a two-game win streak against Michigan State and Rutgers, both teams the Badgers lost to earlier in the season. Northwestern has outperformed the Badgers in every offensive statistic and defensive statistic except for saves thus far this season as well. Northwestern has also had 47 saves this year while the Badgers have had 60, which could be a problem due to the Badgers allowing an average of 12.5 shots on goal per-game compared to their average of seven shots per-game.
In order for the Badgers to have a competitive game, they must continue their defensive pressure while simultaneously executing more on the offensive side. In the past two games for the Badgers, they have not scored in the first half. Striking during the first half against Northwestern would surely provide a spark for a struggling Baders team against a tough conference opponent.
Faceoff starts at 7 p.m. at the Mcclimon track soccer complex on Wednesday, October 30.