Terriers Blanked by Eagles in Home Opener

By Akshai Wadhwani        August 27, 2017

BOSTON — The Boston University Mens’ Soccer team suffered a second straight loss to start their 2017-18 season, falling 4-0 at Nickerson Field to rival Boston College. The Terriers (0-2) have now lost nine straight home matches to the Eagles (2-0), and have not beaten them since a 1-0 away victory in 2012. The result brings the all-time series record to 26-18-8 in favor of Boston College.

With the season now two fixtures in, the Terriers have yet to come up with their first win or their first goal – Sunday’s 4-0 loss was preceded by a 3-0 defeat at the University of Rhode Island on Friday. The Eagles, on the other hand, have now posted back-to-back 4-0 victories; the visitors put four past Quinnipiac University in their season opener at Lynn Stadium.

BU squandered a golden opportunity to strike within the first minute of play; right defender Colin Chiakpo’s clearance from just inside the BU half bounced over the heads of an unaware BC defense and was pounced upon by Terrier forward Matt McDonnell. The juniot sprinted clear through the middle, but put his shot well wide of the left post.

The first 15 minutes of the match saw BU take the lion’s share of possession, with midfielder Peter Kargbo delivering a couple of dangerous-looking free kicks into the BC penalty area. However, it was the Eagles who broke through first, turning the momentum in the 21st minute. BC right back Younes Boudadi delivered a short, bouncing pass to forward Callum Johnson, who then unleashed a ferocious half-volley from 35 yards out that rocketed into the top right corner.

At 1-0, the Eagles began dominating the match, building off their momentum. BC’s style of play seemed to involve lots of possession in more central areas of the pitch, as well as many balls played over the top and a high press on defense. This put the BU back four under constant pressure, before BC broke through again in the thirty-third minute.

A through ball placed between the Terrier center backs put BC’s Beto Luna in behind the defense. Luna then chipped the ball square past BU goalkeeper Michael Bernardi and into the path of teammate Nikita Bondar, who slotted it into the empty net.

The Eagles continued their domination in the second half, and produced the goals to show for it. Center back Tomas Gudmundsson slotted home a penalty for BC on the hour mark, and Simon Enstrom snuck a low cross underneath substitute goalkeeper Bjorn Kammholz at the near post nine minutes later. BU went heavily on the offensive in the last fifteen minutes but failed to score.

The match was characterized by intensely physical play, which BU head coach Neil Roberts described as “typical BU vs. BC”. A total of 39 fouls were committed – 18 by BC, 21 by BU – with five yellow cards assessed. Words exchanged in the sixth minute between the Terriers’ Ignacio Roitman and the Eagles’ Bondar, after a harsh foul by the latter, seemed to signal that the roughness would reach an ugly climax. However, no further incidents occurred.

Despite the loss, the Terriers have plenty of positives to take away from the match.

“We competed pretty well for thirty minutes, maybe even thirty-five minutes,” said Coach Roberts of the Terriers’ strong start. “I thought we did well, I thought it was unfortunate we were down one-nothing”.

Senior center back Adam Sheikali agreed.

“[In] the first 25 minutes of the game, we were doing really well. We were controlling the tempo,” said the senior. “We had some very good chances early on in the game”.

The Terriers also showed a stark improvement in their set piece defending, stymying BC corner kicks and free kicks after having conceded two set-piece goals against URI.

Full backs Lampis and Chiakpo put in great performances, shutting down the Eagles in wide play and providing themselves as useful offensive outlets down the flanks. Veteran midfielder T.J. Butzke distributed creative passes throughout the match while freshman Maxwell Aunger proved to be an incredibly effective substitute when he came on in the 63rd minute.

The Terriers will look to improve on defensive communication going forward.

“One thing we really need to do is keep our defensive line tighter,” Sheikali said. “The goals that came against us came to defenders not necessarily being on the same page […] we need to finish our chances when they’re given”.

The Terriers garnered 20 shots but only three on target, as opposed to the Eagles’ 12 with eight on net. Lack of offensive effectiveness looks to be a carryover from the season opener against URI, where BU put up only seven shots with four on target.

Next Up: The Terriers travel north next Friday to face UMass Lowell.

Author: Akshai Wadhwani

Akshai is a rising senior from Oakland, California. He has previously been a staff writer and editor for men's and women's soccer, and has also written for women's hockey. Additionally, Akshai has worked play-by-play and color commentary for both WTBU and the Patriot League Network, with games in men's and women's soccer, men's and women's ice hockey, women's basketball, women's lacrosse, and softball under his belt. He currently continues to broadcast for both WTBU and the PLN, and hopes to re-assume a staff writing and/or editing role in future semesters.

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