By Akshai Wadhwani September 6, 2018
BOSTON, MA – Friday’s upcoming home match will represent an opportunity to return to the status quo for BU men’s soccer—at least from an historical standpoint.
The Terriers will host UMass Amherst in the end-of-the-week fixture, a team they have enjoyed large success against in the past—at least, until last year.
In 2017’s meeting, the Minutemen edged out BU in a 1-0 result that snapped the latter’s six-year undefeated streak within the all-time series (including four straight wins from 2011 to 2016). Needless to say, the Terriers would like to keep that an anomaly; the first step in that process will be a victory in Friday’s match.
BU (0-2-1) is currently averaging exactly a goal per game; their opponents are averaging 2.33 in the same statistic, and also take the crown in shots (36-31), shots per game (12-10.3), and shots on goal percentage (0.528-0.355). Junior forward Matt McDonnell has scored all three of the Terriers’ goals this season (via the first hat trick by a BU player since 2008); Toti Knutsson (2 assists) and T.J. Butzke (1 assist) have provided additional points.
Continuing a trend from last season, goalkeepers Michael Bernardi and William Bonnelyche continue to share time in net and have combined for 12 saves.
UMass Amherst (2-1-1) holds the momentum in the matchup, having triumphed in their last two matches—including a 3-0 sweep of Bryant on Labor Day. The Minutemen are deadlocked with their opponents at 51 shots each; the difference lies in goals per game, where they have averaged twice the number at a 1.50-0.75 advantage.
BU will likely have devoted lots of training sessions to defending set pieces this week, seeing as UMass will arrive at Nickerson Field averaging a prolific 5.5 corner kicks per game. Another three-goal man leads the Minutemen offense, with senior forward DeAndrae Brown holding six points as well as eight shots (a joint team high). James McPherson and Brandon Merklin also present themselves as offensive threats with two helpers each.
With the Terriers’ domination of the all-time series in recent years, the win-loss-draw record between the two teams currently sits at a less lopsided 22-17-7 in favor of UMass. And as well as continuing their game of catch-up within the series, BU would certainly like a positive result for a different, and doubtless more important, reason: they are still without their first win of the season.
Kickoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m.