Sometimes it’s just not your day and you find that out very quickly. That was unfortunately the case for Washington today as Clemson scored just 26 seconds into the match and the Huskies were never able to find the net in an 0-2 defeat in the finals of the College Cup.
Almost as soon as the game started the Huskies were already trailing. A ball back to the keeper seemed easy enough to handle but Sam Fowler came off his line and attempted to kick it on the first touch but he just whiffed. The ball rolled under his outstretched foot and Clemson’s Isaiah Reid had an open net to easily tap the ball into and make it 1-0 Tigers.
In the 15th minute Clemson got another scoring opportunity and it seemed like Washington was in solid defensive position. A beautiful header again by Isaiah Reid though from near the top of the box snuck into the upper right corner of the net and Clemson held a commanding 2-0 lead just 1/6th of the way through the match.
Washington’s offense didn’t have many opportunities in the first half. The Huskies only managed one shot on goal and it didn’t require a very difficult save. Clemson looked very much like the better team as they dominated position and the few set piece opportunities the Dawgs had were uncharacteristically poorly executed.
Things picked up a little bit for UW in the second half. Much more of the action took place on the Clemson half of the field. Washington had several opportunities where balls made their way in traffic in front of the goal but they just never found the foot of a UW player. Washington looked like they a potential goal partway through the 2nd half but a very close offsides call nullified the goal although the Clemson goalie stopped on the whistle so it’s unclear whether he would’ve been able to stop it without the ref’s interference.
With 10 minutes left in the game each team had attempted just 4 shots on goal but Clemson managed to convert on half of their tries while the Huskies never had a truly clean look. A free kick in the 83rd minute just outside the box seemed to give a great opportunity but Dylan Tevis got caught between a shot and a lob and it soared out of bounds with no shot.
It is a disappointing end to the season for a Washington team that was dominant almost all season long in an 18-2-2 year. The only previous loss for UW (to Oregon State) involved a man disadvantage so this game is the only time the Huskies fell in an 11v11 contest. It’s just extremely unfortunate that it happened in the championship game.
A big thank you to this team for providing a season’s worth of entertainment and although the Dawgs couldn’t quite get it done in the last game of the year they still had a spectacular season.