The West Virginia men’s soccer team has totaled only three goals through as many matches this season as opposed to its seven goals through three matches last season.
It doesn’t help that the Mountaineers lost their top goal scorer from last season, Joey Piatczyc, to the MLS draft. The senior led the team with a total of eight goals in his final year in the Gold and Blue.
“You don’t replace Joey, he’s one of the greatest to ever play at West Virginia University,” WVU head coach Marlon LeBlanc said on Friday. “As a matter of fact, he’s the greatest setup man in the history of West Virginia soccer…you hope to develop somebody else.”
The West Virginia offensive talent is evident from its 47 total shots and 21 shots on goal through three games, but the team’s ability to put the ball in the net seems to be the missing piece for a low scoring Mountaineers squad.
LeBlanc has recalled last season’s team as a motivation for this year and the ability his former team had to net the ball as a high scoring team.
“For us to score as many goals because we were in the top 10 to 15 in almost every attacking category last year was a facet of how we play, and I think these guys understand that,” LeBlanc said.
West Virginia still returns some of its other top offensive threats from last season in Pascal Derwaritsch and Andres Muriel Albino, who each totaled six goals in 2018.
Ethan Shim found the back of the net for West Virginia in the 50th minute for the first goal of the season in the team’s season opener against Monmouth on Aug. 30. Shim’s lone goal came in a game where the Mountaineers got off a total of 18 shots with eight shots on goal.
Muriel Albino marked the Mountaineers second goal of the season when he put West Virginia on the board in the 27th minute against Wright State on Saturday. The goal was assisted by Rodrigo Robles Grajera immediately following a corner kick by Muriel Albino.
Only five minutes later in the 32nd minute, Derwaritsch found the back of the net for the second goal of the day and third of the season again following a Albino corner kick seconds before.
The Mountaineers were able to get 21 total shots off against Wright State on Friday with eight of the shots on goal. Albert Andres-Llop and Kevin Morris led the West Virginia shooting attack behind their two shots a piece.
“I still think there’s areas we can be better in the final third,” LeBlanc said. “Obviously, the number of shots with two goals we can probably score more, and I think we’re going to need to score some more.”
If the Mountaineers expect to compete in MAC conference play, they will need a stronger offensive scoring attack and various offensive threats to step into the spotlight.