Takeaways: Early season challenges define Cyclones’ first four games

A group of players scrum for possession near the sideline during the Sept. 11, 2020 night match against the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Cyclones fell 2-0.

James Powell

Believe it or not, Iowa State soccer is already close to halfway through their season. It’s been four games.

That’s the story for the Cyclones and all other college teams playing shortened seasons this year, so it’s as imperative as ever that teams get off on the right foot.

Iowa State came in to Fort Worth, Texas, with as much momentum as they’ve had in a long time, but that momentum didn’t seem to last long on the field itself, and before they knew it, the team was sitting at 1-3 in the conference.

A penalty kick in the first half was the difference, but the Cyclones were outshot 18-12 against TCU and didn’t get a corner kick until late in the second half.

Cyclones put to work in first half

The Cyclones were outshot in the game against the Horned Frogs, but they were severely outshot in the first half, 15-3. There was just seemingly no established possession time for Iowa State. TCU was a quick, fundamentally sound team who made life miserable for the visitors, and the penalty kick was arguably all the team needed to sink their spirits.

There are loads of factors that could contribute to the team being outplayed that much in the half, one of which could be the fact that they played 104 minutes of soccer just a week ago.

Although they got the win in the end, that’s a lot of time out on the field for anyone, and younger teams such as the Cyclones may not have the experience to counter that.

Ranked teams aplenty for Iowa State

One (or many) would argue the most grueling portion of the schedule for Iowa State was just taken care of after their loss to the Horned Frogs.

Opening up the season against the No. 4 ranked West Virginia team is daunting for anyone, but follow that up with a trip to the sixth-ranked team in the nation in Oklahoma State and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Either of these teams would be hard to beat at any point in the season, but playing them back to back as your first two games is not desirable for anyone.

They played an unranked Baylor team at home, but the Bears still boasted the defensive player of the first two weeks. While they got the win there, it was still a tough matchup.

Top it all off with a trip to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on No. 12 TCU and 1-3 looks a little better for Iowa State.

TCU still rocking season shutout

To put things into perspective even more, Iowa State was not the only team to struggle with scoring against the Horned Frogs. TCU has yet to yield a goal in this young season.

They are led by senior goalkeeper Emily Alvarado and have a strong, experienced defensive front. Alvarado was a member of Mexico’s World Cup qualifying team and has won First Team Academic All-Big 12 the past two seasons.