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Red Card Derails No. 17 Penn State Men’s Soccer In 3-1 Loss To West Virginia

No. 17 Penn State men’s soccer (1-1-1) couldn’t handle West Virginia (3-0-0) Friday night in a 3-1 loss in Morgantown.

A red card from Jalen Watson proved too much for the Nittany Lions to overcome, despite a goal from Femi Awodesu.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions brought a familiar starting lineup to Morgantown, as Jeff Cook elected for the same starting 11 that shined in the win against Syracuse.

Penn State had a positive start to the match. Cook’s side controlled possession, despite the hostile environment in West Virginia.

In the 23rd minute, the moment of the match occurred. Jalen Watson went in on a brutal challenge on a West Virginia attacker, earning the wingback a red card. It proved to be a decisive tackle, as Penn State simply didn’t look the same following Watson’s departure.

Ten minutes later, the Mountaineers capitalized on their man advantage.

Luke McCormick fed Frederik Jorgenson in the box, and Jorgenson roofed Kris Shakes for the opening goal. Shakes could do nothing about the goal, however, the disadvantage of playing with 10 men hurt the Nittany Lions severely on the buildup.

Penn State weathered the storm, and went into the locker room down just one goal. The Nittany Lions even started the second half on the front foot, forcing goalkeeper Steven Tekesky into some game-changing saves.

Tekesky’s heroics paid off in the end. Shortly after Penn State’s chances early in the second half, Bjarne Thiesen put the contest out of reach. The Mountaineer notched West Virginia’s second of the night, and with around 30 minutes to play, it appeared the lead was unassailable considering Penn State lacked a man on the field.

Up until the 83rd minute, it seemed like smooth sailing for West Virginia. However, some offensive possession from Penn State put the Nittany Lions in a strong position, and a scuffle in the box gave Femi Awodesu a rare chance.

The wingback took his opportunity, and struck the ball well to give the Nittany Lions a lifeline, down 2-1 with eight minutes to play.

Despite the Nittany Lions’ best pressure, the Mountaineers capitalized on Penn State moving numbers forward. Albelda Jimenez secured the win for West Virginia with a clinical finish, roofing Shakes for the second time of the night in the 88th minute.

The lead was officially too much, and Penn State was defeated 3-1.

Player Of The Match

Femi Awodesu, Wingback

What can you really say about this performance? It wasn’t a great night for Penn State men’s soccer, that was clear. However, Awodesu was the bright spot with the goal, and covering for Watson’s red card.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions return home on Monday to face American. The match will kickoff at 7 p.m. on BTN+.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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