CHICAGO - Blue Demons take on No. 15 Portland on Friday and No. 7 Washington on Monday. Live stats are available for each match.
NIKE Portland Invitational
Sat., Aug. 31 - DePaul at No. 15 Portland - 4:15 CST
Mon, Sept. 2 - DePaul vs. No. 7 Washington - 2 p.m. CST
Click here for live stats of each match.
CHICAGO - The DePaul men's soccer team opens the 2002 campaign in Portland, Ore. at the 13th annual NIKE Portland Invitational. The Blue Demons play the host Pilots on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. PST and face the Washington Huskies at noon on Monday. Head coach Craig Blazer and his club have their work cut out for them as the preseason Soccer America poll places the Huskies at No. 7 and Portland at No. 15.
Nothing But the Best
A quick look at the 2002 schedule shows that the Blue Demons have their work cut out for them. Consider this, five opponents (No. 7 Washington, No. 10 UAB, No. 11 Saint Louis, No. 15 Portland, No. 17 UW-Milwaukee) are ranked in the preseason top 25 by Soccer America. Of those five, the Blue Demons open their season at three ranked squads. DePaul doesn't play a home match until Oct. 5 against Memphis, a span of nine consecutive games.
Looking at the Blue Demons
DePaul returns 10 players and welcomes 12 newcomers to the 2002 roster... of those 10 returners, two are seniors, three are juniors and there are five sophomores... offensively, the Blue Demons return seven players that scored at least one goal... senior Ed Kiefer is the top returning scorer for DePaul... he finished last season second on the club with nine points on three goals and three assists... sophomore Luke Rojo was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team after tallying three assists and scoring a goal his rookie year... junior Jonathan Foley and Bob Kruse will serve as team captains in 2002... after opening the season with nine straight road matches, the Blue Demons play seven of the remaining 10 regular-season matches at Wish Field... head coach Craig Blazer begins his first season without the "Interim" tag... he was named interim coach a day before the first exhibition game last season after Tom Secco resigned... the Blue Demons will train at the NIKE facilities this weekend using the Ronaldo Field... these facilities are used exclusively by the U.S. National Team.
Looking at the Opponents
University of Portland - The Pilots are ranked No. 15 by Soccer America... they were 13-6-1 season and reached the third round of NCAA Tournament before losing, 3-1, to Stanford... head coach Clive Charles returns 13 players, including six starters, from a year ago... Charles has been the head coach at Portland for 16 seasons and led the Pilots to nine NCAA Tournament appearances.
University of Washington - The Huskies are No. 7 in the preseason Soccer America poll... the Huskies were knocked off by Portland, 1-0, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament... they return six starters from last year's 13-6 team... head coach Dean Wurzberger has led the Huskies to seven straight NCAA Tournaments.
Warm-Up Winner - DePaul 1, Northwestern 0
A goal by Mike Fenton with less than 10 minutes in the match put the Blue Demons past Northwestern last Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Field. The exhibition match was DePaul's first and final tune-up before opening the season at Portland.
In a back-and-forth match, both teams had opportunities, but failed to capitalize. Fenton escaped the Northwestern defenders and scored the game's only goal in the 81st minute. The Wildcats and the Blue Demons each finished with six shots, three of which were on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Mike Timlin came up with three huge second-half saves to seal the exhibition contest for the Blue Demons.