The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Defense carries men’s soccer to victory once again

SMUs Bruno Guarda challenges the Saint Louis University goalkeeper.
John Schreiber
SMU’s Bruno Guarda challenges the Saint Louis University goalkeeper.

SMU’s Bruno Guarda challenges the Saint Louis University goalkeeper. (John Schreiber)

The SMU men’s soccer team flexed its defensive muscles once again Sunday, silencing Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas reserves, 1-0, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco.

The FC Dallas Reserves feature two former SMU players. Both Dario Saintus and Chase Wileman graduated in the spring of 2007 and were a part of SMU’s run to the College Cup in 2005.

It was another example of the knock-down, drag-out contests that have been typical in the Mustangs’ exhibition games this spring. In three matches – two against FC Dallas and one against the Kansas City Wizards’ reserves – SMU has shut out each of its opponents and managed only two goals itself.

Richard Oliva, who will be a senior next year, tallied Sunday’s only goal fewer than 10 minutes into the contest, when he knocked a Kekeo Osorio pass into the back of the net. Oliva has switched to defender from forward, a position where he scored seven goals last fall.

The move, along with a few other lineup shuffles, has bolstered the SMU defense after late-season troubles last fall. The Mustangs, who were ranked No. 1 in the “Soccer America” magazine poll with about two weeks left in the regular season, fell flat in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship. After allowing only about one goal per game throughout the season, SMU surrendered three apiece in its final two losses.

It all started with a 3-1 loss to Florida International in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament. After a first-round victory against Gonzaga in the NCAAs, the Mustangs ended their season with a shutout loss to No. 7-ranked Creighton.

Head coach Schellas Hyndman shuffled the lineup this spring and has been pleased with the improved results.

“[The defense has been] fantastic,” Hyndman told SMUMustangs.com in a postgame statement. “When I look at what this team has accomplished this spring – these guys have done more than I could expect, and I expect a lot from this team.”

Osorio has made the switch to defense, replacing the departed Ben Shuleva in the defensive midfield, after playing forward in the fall. Esteban Mariel has switched from his midfielder-forward role to center defender.

Craig Hill, who played in four games last fall, and freshman Jonathan Lester each played a half in the goal Sunday, stifling the FC Dallas offense.

SMU soccer hopes for more of the same from its defense when it hosts Midwestern State on Friday in the final exhibition of the spring season. The game will take place at 7 p.m. at Westcott Field.

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