TEMPE, Ariz.- The University of Houston soccer team will travel to Arizona to compete in its last two road contests before Conference USA starts. The Cougars will face Arizona State at 9 p.m. CST, Friday and Arizona at 1 p.m. CST, Sunday at the 2012 Sun Devil Desert Classic.
"We know this will test us mentally," head coach Chris Pfau said. "The Sun Devil Desert Classic is a tough tournament and we'll be facing two very good teams. Not only will we have to battle them but also the heat. These kinds of games are what we need to continue to push us as we get closer to conference play. If we can come out the way we ended the LSU game and continue to build on that as a team, this will be a good weekend for us."
Last weekend, the Cougars traveled east across the state line to face Louisiana-Lafayette and LSU. Houston came away with its first road win of the 2012 slate with a 2-1 win over the Ragin' Cajuns, while falling 2-0 to the Tigers.
The Cougars will have many firsts this weekend. The weekend's match-ups will be the first meeting between Houston and the two teams. It will also be the first time the Cougars have competed at the Classic and against a PAC-12 team.
"Right now I am very happy with where our team is and how much we have gotten better since our first game," Pfau said.
The Sun Devils will host Houston in their 2012 home opener after being on the road for five consecutive matches. After a double-overtime draw against Kansas, ASU is now 1-2-1 on the season.
Arizona State will welcome back 17 returners, including last season's team leader in goals, junior Devin Marshall, along with 11 freshmen and two transfers to the 2012 squad. Marshall was held out in the draw to Kansas for precautionary reasons due to a head injury but is expect to be back to face the Cougars.
The Wildcats are returning 14 players from a season ago, including midfielder Ana-Maria Montoya who competed for Colombia at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Arizona is 2-2 after a victory over Creighton Sunday. They outshot the Bluejays 17-8, with junior forward Jazmin Ponce leading the way with five and two goals.
The Cougars will return home Sept. 16 to face UTSA in their last non-conference at 1 p.m.
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