The ORU men’s soccer team is battling to make the postseason with only two conference games left.
ORU is currently tied for fourth with Omaha at four points each. The top four teams in the Summit League standings will make the postseason tournament.
The Golden Eagles go on the road to play league leader Western Illinois on Nov. 1, and return home to play Eastern Illinois for the season finale on Nov. 8.
ORU will have to solve its road woes this season to have success against Western Illinois. The Golden Eagles are 1-5-1 on the road and have been shutout in the last four road matches.
“We’ve got to defend better,” Head Coach Ryan Bush said. “We’ve been a little leaky on the road. We’ve given very few goals at home and given up quite a few on the road, and we haven’t scored on the road.”
ORU gives up just over two goals per match on the road, but only scored four goals in seven road matches this season.
“Coach always says we defend with 11 players, not just the defense and goal keeper,” goal keeper Ben LaCourse said. “Collectively as a group, we need to do a better job of defending with 11 players. We need to concede far less goals than we have been.”
Capitalizing on missed opportunities will make the difference for the Golden Eagles’ offense.
“If we put our chances away, it can be the difference between [winning and tying] or between one goal and beating them by three,” forward Matthew Rogers said. “Putting our chances away and finishing in front of the net is probably the most important thing coming up.”
ORU has been much better at home. The Golden Eagles are 4-1-1 at home, and scored 10 goals in six home games.
“If we can play a more similar style in intensity and energy on the road to what we do here at home, with more concentration and more focus in the attacking third creating opportunities, I think we’ll be a lot more successful in the conference,” Bush said.
Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a tie. ORU is currently 1-2-1 in Summit play.
ORU needs to win the two remaining Summit League matches, and Omaha has to lose or tie in two of three remaining conference matches to have a chance at the postseason.
Omaha faces second-place Denver, sixth-place IUPUI and third-place Fort Wayne to finish the season.
ORU’s next match will be a non-conference meeting with Central Arkansas on the road on Oct. 28.