#29 Southern Methodist Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

SMU Mustangs

Overall Rank: #29
Conference Rank: #3 American
#29 Southern Methodist Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
SMU Team Page


SMU got off to a bit of a slow start during their final campaign in Conference USA, but it was their finish that was more memorable. The conference tournament final ended with a 5-0 loss at the hands of Tulsa and the Mustangs lost on penalties in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Winthrop. The move to the American Athletic Conference will be interesting to watch. These Ponies like to move quick and some of the more physical teams in the AAC could give this group some trouble.

2012 Record: 10-5-5, 6-2-0
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tim McClements

The defense was not all bad despite the 5-0 whooping by the Golden Hurricane. There were stretches of inconsistency, most notably at the end of the season, but Coach Tim McClements has plenty of talent returning. Keeper Jaime Ibarra has totaled 11 shutouts in his 20 starts as a sophomore and junior. He will be ready to shave the goals against average down a bit. A promising defense consisting of Brenden Lee, Amaury Ponce, Michael King, Chris Sendejas and Damian Rosales will help. Lee started his freshman campaign in the back, but moved around and played just about everywhere. His versatility allows Coach McClements to use him where he needs him. Ponce worked his way into the starting lineup pretty quickly during his first season with the Mustangs after coming in from the junior college ranks. The 2012 campaign was also King’s first in the program. Now a sophomore, the 6-2 Texan is ready to emerge as an even bigger presence in the box. Sendejas has the most experience with SMU, yet his minutes could decrease if freshmen Brody Hickey, Deshawon Nembhard, Nicholas Petrucelli and Jonathan Zabasajja are ready to contribute. Rosales made the move from the midfield as a sophomore and turned into one of the Mustangs more reliable backs.

With eight goals and seven assists, Tyler Engel was involved in 15 of SMU’s 25 goals throughout the 2012 season. He is taking his game to North Carolina. Filling that void will be tough. A healthy Juan Castillo will help lessen the blow of Engel’s departure. Castillo, a 5-8 senior, scored two goals and added three assists despite missing nearly half the season with an injury. Leobardo Vazquez was mostly used off of the bench during his freshmen year, but he is a good talent and started to show that in 2012. Will Smith is another promising sophomore. Midfielder Andrew Morales is the team’s top returning point earner, tallying four goals and four assists. He will certainly find the back of the net a few times, but the Mustangs need to find a reliable target up top to help Morales and the other talent in the midfield like Damian Rosales and Eddie Puskarich.

Final Projection:
SMU will have a challenge in the American Athletic Conference. Even before that the schedule is pretty tough. They will play Indiana and Notre Dame in Bloomington to start the season and head to the northwest to visit Washington and Portland in late September. Coach McClements will have his work cut out for him with all of the new foes in conference play, but he can pull out a few surprises too. The good news is the Mustangs face Connecticut and Louisville, arguably the most talented two teams in the AAC, at the friendly confines of Westcott Field. It will not be easy and the Huskies and Cardinals will have a lot to say about it, yet SMU can win the first American Athletic Conference title if they can find a way to effectively and efficiently replace Engel up top.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Andrew Morales, Junior, M, 4
Assists: Andrew Morales, Junior, M, 4
Shots: Andrew Morales, Junior, M, 32
Saves: Jaime Ibarra, Senior, GK, 99

Madness 2013 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#147 Brody Hickey


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