By: Dave Souza
After the Boston University Men’s Soccer team won their home opener against the University of Massachusetts, Coach Neil Roberts detailed how the team enjoys playing in front of their fans at Nickerson Field, but how they needed to bring that play onto the road.
Starting out 0-2-1 in away contests, the Terriers (3-3-1, 0-0-1 PL) had the opportunity to notch their first win away from Comm. Ave when they took on Harvard on Tuesday night in nearby Allston, Mass. However, BU’s road woes continued as they dropped a 3-1 contest to the Crimson (4-3-1) in a game where the Terriers never led.
“The first half was not good,” said Roberts. “We played slow moving the ball, gave the ball away in bad areas, and we should have gotten through the half, where we could’ve made some adjustments, but we gave up that soft goal.”
Despite being outshot 6-1 by the Crimson in the opening 45 minutes, the Terriers played the majority of the first half in a scoreless tie. Harvard’s Christian Sady delivered the game’s first tally in the 44th minute after the junior winger chipped a shot into the top right corner just over the hands of an outstretched Matt Gilbert.
Entering the second half trailing by one, the Terriers came out firing, but were unable to put a shot past saw the deficit double six minutes after the restart as goalkeeper Kyle Parks finished the game with five saves on six shots on goal.
The Crimson, revitalized by their stingy defense and stellar keeper, responded with a counter attack that proved fruitful as senior forward Jake Freeman doubled the Terrier deficit with a goal in the 51st minute. After the BU defense misplayed a long pass by the Crimson, Freeman was able to seize possession before ripping a shot past Gilbert.
Facing a two-goal deficit on the road, the Terriers easily could have wilted and taken the loss without a fight. However, aggressive play and a penalty kick by Felix De Bona assured that BU would not be an easy win for Harvard.
“You go on the road and now [the deficit] is two goals, so now it’s a battle,” said Roberts. “And I thought we battled back well. I thought we came back, got ourselves back in the game, and had chances to tie it up.”
In the 71st minute, De Bona was charging for a cross-field pass, sent by freshman Jerry Ozor, when the senior striker was hauled down in the box. De Bona ripped the ensuing penalty past Parks to bring the Terriers within one with just under 20 minutes to go in the game.
While the goal charged up a BU team that had been largely flat throughout the contest, the Harvard defense held strong after an offensive flurry by the Terriers. Parks turned in two of his best saves with about 10 minutes to go when he stopped back-to-back attempts by Matt McDonnell and Ozor, respectively.
Harvard then turned defense into offense when junior Tyler Savitsky capitalized on an odd-man rush by streaking down the field before placing a pass right at the feet of freshman Matthew Glass, who deposited it past Gilbert to seal the game.
“We need to play with more urgency from the start,” said Roberts after the game. “That’s two games in a row, I think, that we really haven’t had the urgency that we needed.”
The Terriers will look to find that early urgency on Saturday when they return home to Nickerson Field to face off against Patriot League foe American University. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.