Gophers Lose on Questionable Penalty Call – Again

by on 18 September 2017

It’s easy for a losing team to fault the referee for costing them the game, but in this case complaints from Minnesota are probably deserved.


Minnesota 0, Wisconsin 1

Sept. 16, 2017 – Madison

The Gophers traveled to Madison looking to knock off a conference rival in their Big Ten opener. Instead, they walked away with another heart-breaking result. For much of the game, Minnesota seemed to have met their match. Wisconsin looked every bit as gritty, tough, and composed, and seemed to have most of the possession for much of the first half. But the Gophers did what they’ve done all year: played sound defense and threw numbers forward in hopes that one of their many chances may go in.

There were stretches where it seemed as if the squads were true mirror images of each other. Each team was physically strong. Each team was composed on the ball. And each team struggled to put their chances away. Still, for 90 minutes of scoreless soccer, it was about as exciting as it could get. There were plenty of fouls called (most 50/50 calls seemed to go against Minnesota, for what it’s worth), but the counter attacks and build up play were gorgeous.


For much of this year, the Gophers have dominated possession and tried to convert chances in the final third by making just the right pass. Though they still did fairly well in possession against Wisconsin, they also had to work much more out of the counter attack. It made for some dramatic runs and at least one particularly nice through ball – but they still couldn’t quite put one away.


So, for the fourth in eight games, the Gophers headed into extra time. And, unfortunately, for the second time this season they were on the losing side of a bad penalty call. Not only was the whistle for a handball on Tori Burnett somewhat questionable, Wisconsin had played the ball out of bounds before sending the ball back into the box in the first place.

For such a heartbreaking result, the Gophers do have plenty to hang their hat on. Though they still struggled to finish, they created significantly better chances than in other games this season. They eventually lost on a penalty kick, but their defense in the run of play was superb. There were several times where Kailee Sharp made a great save in goal or a defender snuffed out what would have been a great chance on goal for the Badgers. Despite a mixed record so far, it really does feel like this team is close to breaking through. They won’t have to wait to long to prove me right (or wrong) thanks to a midweek match at home against Michigan.

Next up

6 p.m., Sept. 21: Saint Paul

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