Creighton, Akron End with Draw
OMAHA, NE - August 31, 2012 - The No. 7 University of Akron men's soccer team picked up a hard-fought 1-all draw at No. 2 Creighton Friday night at Morrison Stadium.
After trailing at the half for just the 11th time under seventh-year head coach Caleb Porter, the Zips (1-0-1) found the equalizer in the 57th minute to force overtime. A through ball from Eric Stevenson sprung Aodhan Quinn for what would have been the game winner in the first overtime period, but an offsides call negated the golden goal. Nonetheless, the Zips overcame an early deficit to earn a positive result on the road against a quality opponent.
For the match, Akron out-shot Creighton, 15-12, including a 5-4 edge on frame. The Bluejays (1-0-1) broke through first in the 24th minute when a shot by Jose Gomez deflected off on Akron defender and left Sean Kim uncontested in the near left flank. Kim fired a liner across the goal, off the far right post and into the net to give Creighton a 1-0 lead. The junior striker leads CU with three goals in two matches.
Akron found the equalizer in the 57th minute when DeAndre Yedlin blew by his mark down the right sideline and whipped in a cross that found the head of Alfred Koroma. The true freshman flicked it home from close range to record his first career goal in an Akron uniform. The final 15 minutes of the second half featured some frantic moments for both teams as the Zips and Bluejays pressed aggressively for the decisive goal.
Although Akron goalkeeper David Meves had just three saves for the match, none was greater than the diving stop he made of Timo Pitter that was headed for the right corner of the net with less than four minutes in the second half. Then, it was Creighton keeper Alex Bolowich's turn to make his mark as he turned away a close-range shot by Quinn with two minutes left after Koroma fired a liner into the wall on an Akron corner kick.
The Zips dominated the two overtime periods, posting a 4-1 advantage in shots. Akron will have a day off before facing SIU Edwardsville, which improved to 3-0-0 on the year with a 1-0 victory over Rutgers earlier Friday, in the final day of the Ameritas Classic Sunday at Morrison Stadium.
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Porter Goes Pro in Portland
ISN was among the first to confirm Caleb Porter's move to Portland. Please stay tuned for more local and national reaction as well as additional analysis of the top candidates to replace him at UA.
PORTLAND, OR - August 29, 2012 - The Portland Timbers today named Caleb Porter as the club’s head coach for the 2013 season. Porter will lead the Timbers after seven seasons at the University of Akron, where he has become one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history. He also recently served as the head coach of the U.S. U-23 National Team. Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson made the announcement.
Porter, 37, will remain the head coach at Akron through the 2012 NCAA season. He will assume his role with the Timbers and be introduced formally as the club’s second MLS head coach at a news conference in Portland in December.
“Put simply, I believe Caleb Porter is the best young soccer coaching mind in the country,” said Timbers Owner and President Merritt Paulson. “He is the right fit for the Timbers on every level. We went through an exhaustive and thorough search over the last couple months where we spoke with some truly excellent candidates, but Caleb quickly emerged as the consensus target. We look forward to 2013 and beyond with Caleb at our helm.”
“Caleb is ambitious and one of the most respected coaches in the nation,” said Wilkinson. “He has consistently developed and produced talented players who have gone on to excel in MLS. We feel that his mentality, personality, skill set and coaching philosophy are a tremendous fit with the culture of the Timbers organization and we’re excited to bring Caleb on as the Timbers head coach.”
Porter has built Akron men’s soccer into a perennial national championship contender since taking over the program in 2006 and led the Zips to the school’s first national title in any sport in 2010. Porter owns the highest win percentage among active NCAA Division I coaches, with a career mark of 106-17-14 (.825). He recorded the 100th win of his career in 2011, reaching the century mark in fewer games (126) than collegiate Hall of Fame and current MLS coaches Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid.
“I am truly excited and honored to be provided this unique opportunity to coach the Portland Timbers, an organization that in a short-time has established itself as a model franchise in Major League Soccer,” said Porter. “I know that Merritt and Gavin are committed to long-term success for the Timbers and come December, I will be completely focused and driven to continue building a professional club in which the Timbers supporters, city and organization will be proud of. In the meantime, out of respect to the Akron program, I will not be commenting further on this matter until after the conclusion of the 2012 college season.”
To date, Porter has guided Akron to four consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament’s Round of 16, back-to-back College Cup appearances in 2009 and 2010, seven Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular-season championships and four MAC tournament titles. Porter was named the NSCAA National Coach of the Year in 2009 and is a three-time Division I All-Ohio Coach of the Year. He also has won the MAC Coach of the Year award five consecutive times since 2007.
The Kalamazoo, Mich., native has recruited and developed 14 Akron players who have been drafted into MLS over the past six years, including a league-record five first-round selections and seven overall picks in 2011. Among those selected in 2011 was Timbers midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. Under Porter’s guidance, Nagbe and former Akron standout Teal Bunbury were recipients of the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top collegiate player.
In addition to his time at Akron, Porter served as the head coach of the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team during recent CONCACAF Olympic qualification and spent three years as an assistant coach on the U.S. U-18 National Team from 2009-11. Prior to joining Akron, Porter was an assistant coach for six years (2000-05) at Indiana University, helping the school win back-to-back national championships in 2003 and 2004 and five Big Ten Conference championships.
As a player, Porter was the 27th overall pick by the San Jose Clash in the 1998 MLS College Draft. He spent time with San Jose and the Tampa Bay Mutiny before a knee injury ended his career in 2000. Porter also played two seasons with the U.S. National B Team in 1996 and 1997 and earned a bronze medal at the 1997 World University Games.
He had a successful collegiate career at Indiana, where he was a four-year letter winner and a three-year captain for the Hoosiers. Porter led Indiana to four conference titles and two College Cup appearances, and was the runner-up for the 1997 Hermann Trophy.
Porter graduated from Indiana in 1998 with a degree in sports management. He and his wife, Andrea, have three children – two sons, Colin and Jake, and daughter, Stella Jane.
Akron Shutouts FGCU in Regular Season Opener
AKRON, OH - August 24, 2012 - The University of Akron men's soccer team started their 2012 regular season with a bang th.anks to a 4-0 victory over Florida Gulf Coast University and the fourth-largest crowd in facility history.
"I know It's probably the hardest place to play in the country," Akron midfielder Eric Stevenson commented. "So it gives us a lot of confidence in those games."
The first half was fairly even as both teams battled with physical play. Akron had several legitimate scoring opportunities early, but ended the first half with only a 1-0 lead. Stevenson, a Crew academy product, put the Zips on the board in the 20th minute, but a flurry of goals would come later.
Some changes at halftime produced big dividends quickly. The Zips looked like a different squad in the second half, landing three goals in less than 20 minutes. Tommy Schmitt, who spent the summer with AFC Cleveland, scored from 15 yards to double the home team's lead in the 57th minute. Aodhan Quinn scored off a header in the 63rd and a Scott Caldwell goal completed the 4-0 shutout in the 74th minute.
Akron dominated the stat sheet with 14 shots, 11 of which were on goal. The home team also held a 7-4 advantage on corner kicks.
Florida Golf Coast was no cupcake, having solid players at every position, including goalkeeper Nathan Ingham, who finished with five saves. It just wasn't their night and that is just part of soccer.
"I thought Bob [Butehorn] did a nice job with his team and I respect the way they approached the game," Akron head coach Caleb Porter stated.
The Zips will next head to Omaha next weekend for the Ameritas Classic where they will face Creighton on August 31 and Southern Illinois Edwardsville (SIUE) on September 2.
Akron Men's Soccer Dominates Wright State in Exhibition
AKRON, OH - August 17, 2012 - Senior Scott Caldwell played a role in three Zips' goals and junior Eric Stevenson found the net twice to lead The University of Akron men's soccer team to a 5-0 exhibition victory over Wright State in front of 2,124 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium- Cub Cadet Field.
It was the final tune-up for UA, which will officially kick off the regular season next Friday (Aug. 24) when Florida Gulf Coast comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. ET contest. In all, the Zips, who dominated every statistical category, out-shot the Raiders 23-1 overall and 11-0 on frame. WSU's lone shot attempt was a long-range blast that sailed high early in the second half.
The Raiders, who are the preseason favorites in the Horizon League, chopped up play from the start; drawing three yellow cards in the first 11 minutes of the contest and had to play a man down after Findlay Milne was shown his second caution. The Zips responded with a barrage of goals that quickly put the match out of reach. Caldwell led the charge by assisting the first two, then finished off a DeAndre Yedlin cross with a beautiful header from 12 yards out. Not to be outdone, Stevenson, who scored UA's second goal in the 25th minute, found the net again at the 39:37 mark with an unstoppable strike from 16 yards that glanced off the left post and in. The Columbus native then capped off Akron's big first half by setting up Thomas Schmitt in the 41st minute.
Stevenson nearly completed the hat trick in the second half but his liner rang the cross bar in the 53rd minute. It was one of many scoring opportunities for Akron after the break, but goalkeeper Jacob Bye, who relieved starter Craig Feehan, made a pair of saves and a WSU defender came off the line twice to keep matters from getting worse for Wright State. Also finding the net Friday was true freshman Dillon Serna, who got Akron on the board in the 21st minute following a long free kick from Caldwell.
In all, the Raiders committed 21 fouls, drew five yellow cards and had their second man sent off in the final minute of the contest.
Akron Men's Soccer Tops Saint Louis, 1-0, In Exhibition Opener
AKRON, OH - August 15, 2012 - The University of Akron men's soccer team earned a 1-0 victory over Saint Louis Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field in its first of two home exhibition matches.
Sophomore defender DeAndre Yedlin slotted the game's lone goal from a difficult angle in the 51st minute to lead the Zips, who dominated the second half – out-shooting the Billikens, 10-2, after the break.
It was also a good night for senior goalkeeper David Meves, who made a pair of big saves in the first half while the UA attack was still searching for its stride.
In all, 17 Zips saw playing time in the exhibition, including seven freshmen who took the field for the first time. First-year players Matt Foldesy, Alfred Koroma and Dillon Serna each earned starting roles while Phil Fives started the second half.
Akron was forced to play without sophomore Wil Trapp and junior transfer Robbie Derschang, who were held out due to injuries.
UA put together a number of good sequences in the first half, but had few scoring chances against an entrenched SLU backfield. Nonetheless, Akron had an opportunity to take the lead in the 34th minute when Eric Stevenson found space in front of the net after receiving a well-placed cross from Koroma.
Stevenson gathered the ball and fired from close range, but his shot glanced off the glove of SLU keeper Nick Shackelford and out of harm's way.
The Zips were a much more efficient team after the break and dominated play with their possession. After getting just two shots in the first half, Akron earned five in the first 10 minutes of the second, including Yedlin's goal.
Thomas Schmitt, who spent the summer with AFC Cleveland in the NPSL, initiated the play with a through ball to Yedlin, who beat his man with a deep run down the right flank. The Seattle-native then made a turn and fired the ball off a Billiken defender and into the net.
For the match, the Zips posted a 12-7 advantage in shots, including a 5-2 margin on frame. Akron also recorded 11 corner kicks to SLU's three.
Akron will play its second and final exhibition match Friday against in-state foe Wright State. The Zips and Raiders will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. UA officially opens the regular season at home as well on Fri., Aug. 24, when Florida Gulf Coast makes the trip north.
University of Akron Men's Soccer Preview
The number 15 is important to the Akron men's soccer program. It is the number of former Zips now plying their trade in MLS (including Anthony Ampaipatakwong, who recently transferred to a Premier League club in Thailand). It is also the number of returning players for the 2012 season. This gives the Zips experience at every position, providing leadership and a good foundation to build from.
Darren Mattocks and Luke Holmes leave the biggest holes to fill as both players turned pro after last season. Mattocks went early to the Vancouver Whitecaps, while Luke Holmes went undrafted before signing with the Wilmington Hammerheads of USL PRO.
"We lost Darren Mattocks," University of Akron head coach Caleb Porter stated. "You can't hide from that. We lost 21 goals. One of the best strikers in the country."
Michael Balogun and Akron native Matt Dagilis were lost to graduation. Akeil Barrett (Tulsa), David Mayer (Charlotte), Dominic Bonilla (Charlotte), and David Murrow (Cincinnati) were among those that transferred out in search of more playing time.
Coming into the program is the #1 recruiting class in the nation. The class is led by blue chip prospects Alfred Koroma, Andrew Souders, Dillon Serna, and Fernando Pina along with SMU transfer Robbie Derschang.
The team has a lot of depth, but not a lot of question marks.
There are four goalkeepers on the roster and three legimately have a shot of starting for the Zips this fall. Senior David Meves was the starter in 2011, while sophmore Andrian McAdams was the #1 keeper coming out of spring practice. Pina is a stud goalkeeping prospect that has the potential to be a starter before the season ends.
The backline is Akron's strength with senior Chad Barson and sophomores DeAndre Yedlin and Bryan Gallego all likely to hold down starting positions in the defense. A left back might be called upon at some point, but we know that Porter would be perfectly comfortable with three in the back in an attacking style of play.
The midfield is another area of strength with senior Scott Caldwell, sophomore Will Trapp, juniors Eric Stevenson and Aodhan Quinn as well as Serna fighting for starting spots.
Freshmen Omari Morris and Alfred Koroma will challenge Derschang and senior Tommy Schmitt for time up top, which seems to be their biggest question mark going into the fall season. Porter suggested goalscoring by committee might be the only way to replace Mattocks' production.
No matter how you look at it, the biggest star in the program is Porter, who is America's best homegrown coaching prospect. He has transformed the Akron program into a perennial contender and made the university a true soccer school, home to one of the nation's largest and most vocal student supporters' groups.
Porter and his team will face a rigorous schedule this fall, easily one of the toughest in the country.
"This is probably the most difficult schedule I have ever had," Porter added. "In the first four weekends, we play four top 15 teams."
But Porter and the Akron squad are always up for the challenge as they try to add more hardware to an already prestigious program.
"No one can put more pressure on myself and my team than what we put on ourselves," Porter concluded. "Our standards are very high. We want to win a national championship."
UCSB's Stuart Dobson has joined the Unviersity of Akron's men soccer staff as goalkeeping coach. Dobson was hired to replace Liam Curran, who took a full-time position on the Clemson coaching staff.
Goalkeeper JP Van Der Merwe and defender Cristian Arboleda also left the program before the start of preseason. Goalkeeper Anthony Ponikvar is no longer with the team after pursuing a graduate law degree.
The Columbus Crew continue to have a close relationship with the Akron men's soccer program. At least 7 of the 28 players on the roster came up through the Columbus Crew Academy system. That's right, 1/4 of the team is connected to the Crew.