By: Brady Gardner
After a pair of winless fixtures against Dartmouth and Princeton, the Boston University men’s soccer team (1-3-2) will look to right the ship as they conclude their tour of the Ivy League on Wednesday night with a trip to Jordan Field to take on crosstown rival Harvard (1-5-0).
BU goalkeeper Michael Bernardi recorded a 2018 NCAA-best 14 saves against the Tigers on Saturday evening; however, the senior’s efforts were not enough, as the lone goal he conceded proved to be the eventual game winner. Missing from the squad at Princeton was junior standout Matt McDonnell, who suffered an injury late in the match against Dartmouth. BU will hope to see their leading goal scorer return sooner rather than later, but the extent of the injury has yet to be determined.
Aside from regaining their star forward, the Terrier attack will look to feature greater involvement from the midfield—a group in which head coach Neil Roberts expressed great disappointment after their most recent contest. “Our midfield was really poor today,” Roberts said following Saturday’s final whistle. “We were very undisciplined from start to finish. It was very disappointing.”
While the Terriers have not been in the win column since September 7, there are certainly points available against a Harvard side that has only managed a single win on the season. The Crimson have scored an unimpressive six goals on the season, a number they will be looking to improve on against a BU defense that has conceded 12 thus far this season. They have kept 51.9% of their shots on target over their six games, something that will certainly keep the aforementioned Bernardi on his toes throughout the match.
Despite possessing the inferior record in the 2018 campaign, Harvard currently holds the advantage all-time in this fixture, with 25 wins—in comparison to BU’s 15—and eight draws split between the two Boston-based sides. The Terriers will look to reduce the gap on Wednesday night, and add another loss to the record of a Crimson XI that has not been victorious since September 3. A win for BU would also mean momentum ahead of a crucial conference opener against American University, who currently sit one position below the Terriers in the Patriot League standings.
The game will be played at Harvard’s Jordan Field in Allston, Mass. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 19.