This weekend, ASU will meet its rival for the first time since UA eliminated the Sun Devils in last year’s playoffs.
The Sun Devils played back-to-back road games this past weekend, beating New Mexico Tech and University of Texas at El Paso to start the season with a complete six of six points.
The 2-0 start gives the team much needed success and confidence going into the third game of the season against rival UA.
Coach Eisa Shamroukh said he was pleased with the result over the weekend but made sure to tell his team that this is only the beginning of the season and that it only gets more difficult Friday night.
Shamroukh said the team was at a disadvantage only having practiced together twice before the quick road trip to New Mexico and Texas. ThIs week, ASU will have three full practices prior to its game against the Wildcats.
With two wins and his team’s confidence at a season high, Shamroukh expects his team to be focused against a tough squad.
Shamroukh said that the versatility of his players will be a determining factor against this tough team.
“We have a lot of guys that can play multiple positions on the field,” he said.
Shamroukh said that this is advantageous, because he is able to make defensive and offensive substitutions based on what the other team does and can do it without interrupting the flow of the team’s strategy.
UA plays a more defensive style game than the teams ASU faced this last weekend.
Because of that, Shamroukh said the team can’t afford to make any mental mistakes and that one mistake can seal the game for the opponent.
“When you get scored on early in the game, it shatters the team’s plans,” he said.
Shamroukh said the team would employ a different strategy from the one it used against its two road opponents.
Shamroukh said strategy is good to have but expects that the players believe in themselves and in the team will help them succeed this season.
Shamroukh said that it comes down to two good teams and two good coaches, and that he is putting a lot of focus on defense.
“I have all the confidence in my guys and all the confidence in my defense and goalie that we’re good enough to take this game on Friday,” he said. “Our number one thing is not getting scored on in this game.”
The fact that the game against UA is at home adds that much more to the excitement for both the team and the fans.
“We’re at home, and we’re comfortable at home, and hopefully we get a crowd to cheer for us,” Shamroukh said.
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