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UAB vs. Charlotte ends in an unsatisfying tie, 0-0 (Photos)
(UPDATED) The players sat dejectedly on the ground with their heads down. When they got up, they walked slowly off the field. With the Blazers losing to Charlotte in the last two NCAA tournaments and tying the team in last year’s season, it was an old and bitter rivalry that didn’t have a satisfying conclusion Friday night. Even with 110 minutes on the field, the Blazers couldn’t pull out a win. Not losing didn’t seem to help either.
In the second game of the 16th “Soccer for a Cure” Classic on Friday, No. 8 UAB tied No. 21 Charlotte 0-0. Despite two overtime periods, neither team managed to scored.
“I don’t think it was our best performance, but we worked hard,” said Head Coach Mike Getman. “We stood up to a very physical challenge and certainly controlled most of the game, although didn’t create any goals at the end of it all. So we are disappointed with the final result, but pleased with the effort.”
What the game lacked in goals, it made up for in aggression. By the end, Charlotte had amassed two red cards, two yellow cards and 20 fouls. UAB had one red card and 15 fouls.
The game stood out for its sheer physicality.
“It was a very physical game,” Getman said. “It always is with Charlotte. I thought our kids stood up to the physical battle, but we also had a red card and shouldn’t have . . . We need to keep our cool when other people aren’t.”
Thirty-one minutes into the first half, Charlotte’s #11 Brandt Bronico slammed into another player. UAB’s #16 Moses Adeniran rushed to the defense of his teammate and shoved Bronico. As the fight broke out, referees and players ran to separate them, but when the smoke cleared, both teams were handed red cards. Bronico and Adeniran were out of the game.
“It was a pretty big loss for us,” said team captain Alex Clay on losing Adeniran. “He’s our starting right back. He’s started about every game that he’s been at UAB, so that was a pretty big deal.”
“He’s obviously been a big part of our team,” Getman agreed. “(Losing Adeniran) made us change some things, but it’s more about playing a man down, playing with ten instead of eleven. We have a very deep team, and I have confidence in all the other players, so it’s not that we couldn’t play without Moses. It’s that we were forced to play with ten instead of eleven, and it changes a lot of things.”
With fourteen minutes left in the first half, both teams were down a man, and only five minutes later another player would be thrown out of the game. Charlotte’s #4 Biko Bradnock-Brenna was kicked off the field for slide tackling a UAB player from behind. There was a rare show of emotion from Getman as he threw a cup down in response before the referee handed Bradnock-Brenna a red card.
“There were some very hard fouls and some fouls from behind, which are straight red cards,” Getman said about the incident. “I thought the referee handled the game extremely well. That’s as challenging a game as there is to referee. You never going to get them all right. You never going to make both coaches happy, but I thought he got an awful lot right today.”
“As a soccer player, you don’t want three red cards,” Clay said. “You know, it’s just a physical battle. It’s not really a soccer game, and we really tried to settle it down after . . . the red cards happened.”
Before the end of the first half, Charlotte was playing with nine men while UAB had ten on the field. But what should have helped the Blazers seemed only to baffle them.
“I can’t remember playing against an opponent that had two players sent off before, and I think it confused our team. We didn’t look well prepared, and honestly we haven’t practiced playing against a team with only eight men,” Getman said (not including the goalkeeper in his count). “I’ve been here 22 seasons now, and I don’t think it’s ever happened before. Maybe we’ll need to prepare for that a little bit better … Overall, I was pleased with how the team handled things, but there are certainly things we can learn from it and do better.”
Despite being a man up, UAB’s game was mainly defense-oriented. They trailed Charlotte in shots 8 to 14. UAB’s goalkeeper Raphael Ville was a key player in the game with three saves.
“It was pretty frustrating,” Clay said about not being able to take advantage of outmanning Charlotte. “That’s exactly what they want us to do is get frustrated and, you know, we didn’t really keep the ball as much as we really wanted to. We kept trying to play long balls in the corner and over the top, but they’re a very good team.”
Clay said he looks forward to playing Charlotte again: “Maybe in the conference tournament down the road, but now we got Sunday. We got to rest and recover and come out Sunday and play a big game then too.”
UAB will face East Tennessee in the final game of the “Soccer for a Cure” Classic Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at West Campus field. Blazer fans come out and join the Green Army as they cheer on our nationally ranked men’s soccer team!