MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois men's soccer team travels to Chicago on Wednesday for a non-conference contest against DePaul at noon at Wish Field.
The Leathernecks (0-2) have suffered a pair of tough-luck losses, including dropping a 1-0 game to Central Arkansas via an own goal. Western Illinois will look to hand the Blue Demons (1-0) their first loss of the season before traveling to Valparaiso on Sunday.
A LOOK AT THE BLUE DEMONS: DePaul opened its season with a 2-1 win over Illinois-Chicago on Aug. 24...Thiago Ganancio scored both goals for the Blue Demons, including the game-winner with just three minutes remaining in regulation...David Selvaggi and Zach Forbes each added an assist in the victory...Ganacio was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week after his two-goal effort...The Blue Demons were picked to finish seventh out of eight teams in the BIG EAST Red Division after a 6-11-2 record last year, including 3-5-1 in the league...Antonio Aguilar was named Preseason All-BIG EAST after tallying seven goals and four assists last year.
SERIES HISTORY: Western Illinois holds a 4-2-1 record all-time against DePaul...In 2011, the Leathernecks posted their biggest victory of the season against the Blue Demons, winning 4-0...Nathan Bruinsma, Aaron Appel, Husref Jupic and Kooten Johnson all scored, while current junior Charlie Bales tallied two assists.
LAST TIME OUT: Western Illinois posted its second straight tough-luck loss, falling 1-0 to Central Arkansas, now ranked eighth in the Midwest...The only goal of the game was an own goal, which came in the 19th minute...Western Illinois totaled 18 shots, including four each from Nathan Bruinsma, Charlie Bales and Erick Bloom...Keeper Yves Dietrich made eight saves in just his second appearance in the Purple & Gold.
LAW OF AVERAGES: Last year, Western Illinois scored 29 goals on 275 shot attempts, an average of one goal per every 9.5 shots...This season, none of the team's 37 shot attempts found the back of the net.
IT'S NOT HOW YOU START...: Western Illinois men's soccer teams that struggled early on in the season have gone on to excel later in the season...Last year, the team started 0-2-1, but went 13-5 the rest of the way en route to a Summit League title...The 2009 conference championship team began the season 0-4 before turning things around.
SECOND HALF SPECIALISTS: The Leathernecks have controlled much of the action in the second half of play, outshooting opponents 22-10 and taking 13 corners compared to just one for the opposition.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: With Quinlin Johnson transferring to Western and Maclean Johnson enrolling as a freshman, all four of head coach Dr. Eric Johnson's sons have now played under him as a Leatherneck. His second son, Kooten, was a team captain last season and graduated in 2012.
PRESEASON KUDOS: The Fighting Leathernecks, coming off a Summit League title, have received high expectations coming into the 2012 season. Receiving five first-place votes, Western Illinois was predicted to finish first in the Summit League by conference head coaches...Additionally, College Sports Madness named Dr. Eric Johnson the Preseason Coach of the Year and Charlie Bales the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Bales was joined on the Preseason First Team All-League list by seniors Husref Jupic and Nathan Bruinsma, while Diego Gonzalez was a Second Team honoree...TopDrawerSoccer.com projected Western Illinois as the Summit League champs in its preseason Tournament 48 rankings.