Looking to break a trend of declining offensive output, the Missouri Tigers hosted a Top-10 opponent at Audrey J Walton Stadium on Thursday, the No. 7 Arkansas Razorbacks.
After losing 2-1 to No. 22 Georgia in their last matchup, the Tigers looked to pick up a big win at home to avoid a third straight loss in conference play.
Going into this matchup, the Tigers expected physical play from the Razorbacks, considering this was a rivalry game (depending on who you ask, obviously).
Physical play came right out the gate as the teams combined for three fouls in the first six minutes of the match, but it was the Razorbacks with the early edge as they pushed out two shots on the Tiger goalkeeper Bella Hollenbach between the 7th and 8th minute.
In the 13th minute, disaster struck for Missouri as Mia Yang was blown down for a handball in her own box, thus giving the Razorbacks a penalty kick and a golden opportunity to take the lead. With the help of Ava Tankersley, Arkansas did just that as she slotted a ball into the bottom left of the net, giving the Razorbacks an early 1-0 edge.
This is becoming a frequent problem for the Tigers as they have allowed a goal in the first 25 minutes or less in every single SEC game they have had this season. Most of the early woes are just a lack of ability to tighten things down defensively in games, and it seems that early goals are the only way to jolt the defense into shape.
Just two minutes after, Jenna Bartels took a shot in the bottom left corner, forcing Arkansas goalkeeper Phoebe Carver to make a save. Forcing Carver to make a save would be something the Tigers would fail to do for the next 73 minutes after this.
It was just apparent that the strength of this Arkansas team was their athletic defenders who could make great tackles quickly and make plays, and they somehow managed to absolutely shut down a Missouri attack that was buzzing.
To end the half, between a monsoon of fouls from both teams, were brilliant saves from Hollenbach, that kept the Tigers in a game they did not deserve to still be in. At the end of the first half, Arkansas led 1-0 in the game and 6-1 in the shots on goal department.
The second half was very defensive, as neither team registered a shot on goal until the 77th minute, which was another brilliant save from Hollenbach. Hollenbach singlehandedly kept the Tigers in striking distance of a Top 10 team for 90 minutes, which is a statement I I did not think I would be saying this year.
The only other shot on goal in the half came in the 88th minute from Leah Selm, and it was very quickly corraled by Carver. The Razorbacks passed the Tigers to death en route to a gritty 1-0 triumph at Audrey J Walton, which saw the Tigers only register two shots on goal, easily their season low.
With the loss, the Tigers grabbed their third straight SEC loss, moving them to 1-3-0 this season in conference play, making their early promising win to Florida seem like a distant memory.
Final Statistics: Arkansas led in shots 13 (9) - 7 (2), they also led in Fouls 15-14, corners 8-4, and offsides 5-0.
UP NEXT: Missouri travels to Oxford, Mississippi to take on Ole Miss on Thursday, October 5 at 6 PM CT.