By: David Souza
The Boston University men’s soccer team (2-1-0) defeated Siena College (0-2-2) 1-0 on Thursday, in a hot-tempered, physical match. While the game was not as high paced as the Terriers’ previous one against Boston College, emotion and intensity were on display as the two teams faced off in a non-conference matchup.
These teams last played in Albany last fall, where the Sienna Saints snuck past BU with a 1-0 victory. But the Terriers got revenge Tuesday evening, led by junior forward Felix De Bona, who netted his 3rd goal in just three games.
BU dominated time of possession in the first half with the ball mainly in the Saint’s defensive zone. But just 1:53 into the second half, De Bona roofed a header into the top right corner to put BU up 1-0.
Sophomore midfielder Anthony Viteri set up the goal when he broke down the left side of the pitch, pulling his defender away from the middle of the box. Viteri then booted a cross towards the Siena net and De Bona was able to leap up and put it away.
It was the only score BU would need.
“I tried to time the cross correctly and as soon as I saw it come off his foot I just made a move to the front post and was lucky enough to be there at the right time,” said De Bona.
The Somerville, Massachusetts native has been hot to start the season, as he has scored in all three of the Terriers’ contests.
“I feel very blessed…I hope it can just continue. I’m not looking to set any records, I just want to win games and that’s the motivation I have for this year,” said De Bona.
On the defensive side, the Terriers were more effective against the Saints than they were against BC when they allowed three goals to freshman Simon Enstrom and company on opening night.
“We’ve been working on that,” said BU coach Neil Roberts about his team’s defensive improvements. “We’ve got a lot of young guys back there…but I’m sure if you break down the tape that [Siena] had opportunities.”
Junior midfielder David Asbjornsson had himself a fantastic game, as he was impervious on defense.
“We knew we needed to tighten up on the defensive side…we knew that [Siena] had played two games this week while we had the week off, so we wanted to come out and shock them from the first minute,” said Asbjornsson.
Asbjornsson and the rest of the Terriers did exactly that as their physicality wore down the Saints. Both teams’ physical playing style led to tempers flaring, as three yellow cards were given out and 18 total fouls were committed – nine by each side.
The most vicious of penalties occurred in the 84th minute when Siena back Danilo Markovic put BU’s T.J. Butzke in a headlock in an attempt to halt a Terrier charge. Things became more heated minutes later when BU senior Richie Robinson shoved Siena’s Tom Allen, inciting a scuffle between the Terriers and Saints.
In goal, junior Matt Gilbert looked comfortable, as evidenced by his stoning of Siena’s Matt O’Brien in the 65th minute. O’Brien took an across-the-pitch pass from a fellow teammate and broke in on the near side of Gilbert, but the 6’ 4” keeper made an aggressive sprawling save. Gilbert preserved his seventh career shutout and first of the season.
While Siena outshot the Terriers 15-12, only four of their shots made it through to Gilbert. And although Gilbert did receive a yellow card for a delay-of-game in the 89th minute, he was able to keep his composure in check.
A scary moment occurred in the 57th minute as Viteri broke past two Sienna defenders before suddenly stopping and dropping to the pitch. Staying down and grasping at the back of his right knee, Viteri was treated and stretched out by the team’s trainer. He was helped off the pitch and did not return. There has been no update as to the sophomore midfielder’s condition at this time.
The 78-degree heat and 73% humidity seemingly affected the Terriers as they then lost senior Jeroen Blugh to what appeared to be a left leg cramp in the 64th minute. Shortly after, sophomore Adam Sheikali also appeared to cramp up but remained in the game.
Boston University improved to 2-1-0 on the season and will visit the University of Massachusetts and Princeton University before returning home to Nickerson Field to play the Harvard Crimson on Thursday, September 24th at 7:00 PM.