3:06pm: Hotline with Dave Weekley

Herd sharp in exhibition against Robert Morris, opener with Oakland awaits

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall soccer fans can start matching names with the numbers.

The Thundering Herd played a Fans First home exhibition match Thursday night against Robert Morris at Hoops Family Field/Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.

The 2023 roster features 15 players not around a season ago when Marshall went 11-4-4 and reached the third round of the NCAA Championships — where it lost at Indiana, 1-0.

Matthew Bell and Adam Aoumaich are two of the household names back. They are joined by Alvaro Garcia-Pascual, a transfer from fellow Sun Belt Conference member Coastal Carolina. 

The remaining players got their feet wet for a second time and the vocal fans a chance to support them for the first.

One of more important newcomers is goalkeeper Dan Rose, who takes over for Oliver Semmle. Rose played the first half. Gabe Sitler took over in the second.

Old and new players got into the scoring act.

Aoumaich, the Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year last season, set up newcomer Marco Silva for the first goal in the 14th minute, then got the next two. His first came in the 18th minute and second in the 56th minute.

Garcia-Pascual got his first in the 70th minute and Aymane Sordo scored the final two. The first came in the 81st minute and second in the 86th.

Herd coach Chris Grassie got to mix in players through the first 90 minutes. After a short break, the teams played 30 more minutes.

“We have work to do to continue to improve, but as always, our goal is to win the conference,” Grassie said earlier this week.

Marshall totaled 11 shots on goal (21 total shots) and 10 corner kicks. The Colonials had one corner and one shot on goal. Sitler made the save on that attempt.

Kieran Gorgenyi and Giancarlo Acosta split tending goal for the Colonials.

Marshall played its first exhibition last Sunday at Michigan.

Bell was SBC Freshman of the Year last season. He started 19 times and scored 10 goals (second in the league) and totaled 24 points (also second in the SBC). Garcia-Pascual netted 10 goals for Coastal Carolina last season.

Bell and Morris Duggan made first-team All-SBC Preseason team. Marshall was picked to finish second behind Kentucky.

Marshall starts the regular season next Thursday at home against Oakland. Wright State visits August 28 and Xavier on September 1 to end the three-game home stand.

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