It’s considerably less stifling in Virginia today than on Friday, when UB Men’s Soccer had to take their foot off the gas to survive 95-degree heat in a 2-0 win over Virginia Military Institute, and that’s a good thing because today’s opponent, Liberty, is unquestionably stronger than the Keydets.
The Flames come in to the Sunday matinee 3-1-0 with wins over Howard, USC Upstate, and that VMI team, and a 2-0 loss to William & Mary. They’re a relatively young group with only two seniors, only one of whom has played each of the Flames’ four games.
UB still boasts an unbeaten and unscored-upon resume, and will do well to come out on the front foot, as they did against VMI. Liberty has outshot their four opponents by a near two-to-one margin and have not yet allowed a goal before halftime. Freshman keeper James Knoebel averages four saves a game while sophomore Tresor Mbuyu leads the team with 10 shots.
Liberty as a team was 6-10-1 last year and may be improved, but it’s hard to see them jumping from a sub-.500 team to one that challenges an experienced group looking to find a spot in the NCAA Tournament. They’re better than VMI, and it’s hard to say much definitively in soccer, but I’ll use a phrase I’ve used already this year: If UB is the team they expect to be and good enough to challenge Akron later in the season, this is a game they need to get a result from.
A live video stream will be available through Liberty.