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Mizzou Soccer breaks even with Omaha for second-straight year in a 2-2 draw

Elena Zuchowski’s late strike saved the day for the Tigers, helping them avoid a momentum-shattering loss to a mid-major

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The Missouri Tigers earned their first result of the season that wasn’t a win, moving to 2-0-1 after a 2-2 draw against the Omaha Mavericks. The Tigers played the Mavericks last season as well, though that match was in Omaha and drew a 1-1 tie. Expectations for this year’s team are higher, however. After all, they beat Southeast Missouri State 4-0 in their opener, and didn’t allow a shot in the game for the first time since 2001.

Nonetheless, Omaha came in guns-a-blazing out of a 4-3-3 formation which attempts to have the wingers press high up the field in order to make things tough for the Mizzou defenders and force them to make quick decisions.

Omaha’s success came in the form of set pieces, as a corner resulted in a bouncing ball finding its way into the Tiger net behind freshman goalkeeper Kate Phillips to give the Mavericks a stunning early 1-0 lead.

Quickly after that, however, Kylee Simmons ripped a shot off the crossbar bringing the momentum back to Mizzou, and freshman forward Brianna Buels zipped a shot off a through ball home to not only net her first career goal, but tie the game back up for the Tigers just minutes after going down.

Buels often generated offense from the wings in this game, as she outpaced the Maverick defenders on the outside and slid crosses in for the Tiger forwards.

Omaha unfortunately then turned the game on its head when yet another cross into the box ended up headed into the net, as Omaha’s Sophia Green headed the ball home for a 2-1 Maverick lead.

Sophomore forward Mallory McGuire had a golden opportunity with ten minutes left in the first half to tie it up as her shot made it past the Omaha goalkeeper, but it cleared off the goal line to keep the score 2-1 in favor of Omaha. That score would carry into halftime with the Tigers down, but outshooting the Mavericks 10-4.

The Tigers struggled to get much going in the second half, aside from a magnificent opportunity off a corner which led to the Omaha keeper saving a ball off the line, six minutes into the second half.

As time waned down, the Tigers were unable to generate chances and it seemed as if in a year beaming with improvement they were going to regress by means of the Omaha measuring stick.

However, with 18 minutes left in the game, a ball rolling out of the box was launched into the bottom left corner by Elena Zuchowski, sending the Tiger crowd into a frenzy as Zuchowski knotted up the game 2-2.

Simmons had a golden opportunity to take the lead with seven minutes left but her shot was just barely tipped over the crossbar by the Omaha goalie, and that would end up being the Tigers’ final significant chance of the game.

As the final ticks on the clock ran out, the cheers from the Omaha sideline and the heads down from the Tiger sideline made it very apparent this was not the desired result for head coach Stefanie Golan and her team. Typically you want to see sign of progress, and when you draw with the same mid-major team you drew with last year in your own barn, that doesn’t signify that.

The Tigers lost this game in the air, with both goals coming from headers, and while the Mavericks didn’t control the offensive portion of this game, all you need in soccer is to be opportunistic, and they were. Despite outshooting Omaha 18-5, this score was a dismay for the Tigers.

NEXT: Missouri heads to Nebraska to play the Cornhuskers on Thursday, August 31st, at 7 PM CT.