Iowa State soccer fell to 2-4 on the season after falling 1-0 to Texas on Friday in Ames. Coming off a win, the Cyclones were looking to start a winning streak, but were unable to finish chances.
The team is still relevant in the Big 12, with an anything-can-happen attitude being adopted into most teams. However, if the Cyclones are to make any sort of run to end the season, it's going to need to finish chances and beat some teams it has been better than.
Changes in leadership lead to more competitive games
Earlier this season, it was made clear as crystal that Iowa State, while having a young and exciting team, was still a ways away from competing with the likes of TCU and West Virginia.
What was also prevalent, however, is that the Cyclone soccer team was getting some chances to win games they had not in previous years.
All six of the Cyclones' games, granted producing just two wins, have all been within one goal, except for the first. While it's easy to look at that and see Iowa State is holding teams close, there are other reasons why there's reason to see progress in this team.
Head Coach Matt Fannon has his team playing his brand of soccer, and that's clear in how aggressive they are on the ball, in addition to other aspects. Every time an opponent has possession, there isn't a break in the action. It always seems as though a Cyclone defender is rushing to stop the ball or rushing toward the opposing goalkeeper on offense, just in case.
The aggressiveness also shows up in the goalkeeping. Jordan Silkowitz, a sophomore transfer, has been consistently great in net, but has also shown she can provide in other areas. Whether that's being a consistent safety net for the defense, bringing the ball up or even taking free kicks from midfield, it's clear Fannon wants to include Silkowitz as much as possible.
Chances are there, goals are not
With all that can be said in regards to this Cyclone soccer team having hope, the fact of the matter is, they're 2-4 and still have a while to go before they hope to contend consistently.
One of the main reasons they're in the position they are is because of missed opportunities or not capitalizing on prime chances.
"There were about four or five moments [in the first half of the Texas matchup] where the ball just flashed across their net... sometimes you realize it's just not your night," Fannon said.
There is truth to what Fannon is saying, it seems as though a more precise pass or waiting a second to avoid an offside is all the Cyclones really need to hone in on in order to produce more goals. The team has been shut out in half their games and have only scored one in the other half.
The shot disparity has not been the issue, and neither has the possession time. All statistics indicate the Cyclones have deserved their two wins and maybe even deserve one or two more.
However, the record they have is an accurate reflection of the season so far. There are clear signs of a bright future, the team just isn't sure how much longer they'll have to wait to reap those rewards.