BY: Dave Souza
Boston, MA — In preparation for the 2016 season for the Boston University’s Men’s Soccer team, senior defender David Asbjornsson began practicing cross-field passes with forward Mark Wadid as September approached.
The training paid immediate dividends in the team’s home opener as Asbjornsson scored the first of two Terrier goals in BU’s 2-1 win over the University of Massachusetts.
The Reykjavik, Iceland native opened the scoring by one timing a Wadid cross into the back of the net following a BU free kick in the 19th minute.
“It was actually pretty simple,” said Asbjornsson. “They had all of their players packed on the front post, I had huge space on the far post, and great ball from Mark and I just finished it.”
The goal was the third of Asbjornsson’s career and his second against UMass (0-4-1) as the Terriers (1-1-0) jumped out to the early 1-0 lead.
A silent but integral part of the team, Asbjornsson showcases his leadership through his on the field play and his fierceness in training.
“On the field he’s demanding but off the field he’s very, very quiet,” said coach Neil Roberts. “His presence in the locker room is more his work ethic. He doesn’t say a lot but, in training and everything else, his actions speak for him. He’s a sold player, the past few years he’s been solid for us.”
Not usually known for his offensive prowess, Asbjornsson earns his keep on the defensive side of the ball. Anchoring the Terriers back line, Asbjornsson and company held a dangerous UMass team to three shots all game including just one in the first half.
However, that one shot for the Minutemen resulted in the equalizer as UMass pulled even with the Terriers in the 30th minute.
After UMass earned a throw-in deep in the BU defensive zone, senior defender Josh Jess hurled a long throw to fellow back Brandon Merklin. The sophomore corralled the toss before sending a cross on net that forward Alex DeSantis headed home directly in front of BU goalkeeper Matt Gilbert.
The Terriers however would not be deterred as BU reclaimed the advantage nine minutes later off of the foot of junior midfielder Anthony Viteri.
“He almost tries to work so hard that he runs so much and what we need to do is calm him down a little bit and let the game come to him,” said Roberts. “Against that team it was difficult because they played so defensive. By the time Anthony got the ball there was really no room, eight to 10 guys were back there.”
Despite the conservative defense employed by the Minutemen, Viteri was still able to convert in the 39th minute as the St. John’s transfer took a pass from T.J Butzke 18 yards out before wheeling around and ripping a shot past a diving Jorge Becerra.
Reigning Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Matt Gilbert was called upon to make save after save in the second half. Gilbert’s shining moment came in the 64th minute when the senior made a point blank save after a Minutemen corner kick landed right at the foot of a UMass forward.
“We said before the game that we had to be patient,” said Asbjornsson. “We kept being patient, we got another goal early after they scored, and we dominated the first half. But, we could’ve been a little smarter on the ball in the second.”
The Terriers will look to be smarter on the ball and build off of the momentum gained from the win as they take on Northeastern Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Nickerson Field.