Fans of the Charlotte 49ers men’s soccer team may be scratching their heads following the team’s 3-2 loss to Old Dominion on Wednesday–a defeat that left the Niners 0-2-2 in Conference USA and in ninth place in the league standings. Only the top seven teams make it into the conference tournament next month at Transamerica Field.
But for all the consternation over the tough league start, that can all be fixed with a little bit of winning.
It starts on Sunday against Tulsa, who’s 6-4-1 after a loss to a tough New Mexico squad. Kentucky comes to town next Saturday, followed by a non-league tilt against Clemson on the 22nd. The schedule wraps up at FAU on the 30th, with Senior Day against Marshall on November 2 and a road match at FIU on November 8.
We know about Tulsa’s exploits, but Kentucky is not a team to take lightly after topping ODU last week–they’re hoping that provides them with a shot in the arm for the rest of the league schedule. FAU has been a revelation and has already topped last year’s win total; Marshall, the only other team that’s winless in league play, has struggled; FIU is in the middle of the pack and hoping to stay in the mix.
So are the Niners panicking? I don’t think so. Fans shouldn’t either. The team has faced much bigger mountains than this and have shown they’re capable to going toe-to-toe with the top teams in the country (the draw at UAB with nine men and the tie against Wake Forest). One thing’s for sure: they’ll need to string together a few wins if they’re to make the C-USA tournament, let alone the NCAA tournament.