By: Brady Gardner
BOSTON – Coming down the final stretch of their 2018 campaign, the BU men’s soccer team (3-9-3, 2-3-1 in PL) will return home for what is undoubtedly their biggest game of the season thus far: a midweek matchup with Army (6-7-1, 3-3 in PL), in a fixture with major playoff implications.
Army currently sit in the sixth and final playoff position in the Patriot League. BU currently chase them directly below, trailing by a single point. A head-to-head victory for either side would likely propel them into the playoff picture for good, so with so much on the line, this clash is certain to be a thriller from the first whistle to the last.
The Terriers will be looking to finally bring an end to a disappointing spell that has seen them winless since Oct. 3, despite impressive efforts from unexpected leaders — such as freshmen tandem John Siracuse and Kari Petursson, among others. However, as has been the case throughout the season, BU’s struggles to score have been their downfall; the Scarlet and White have failed to put up more than one goal in any game since Sept. 22.
At a time when the Terriers would be hoping for some much-needed momentum to finish the season, the team’s poor form continued over the weekend. Traveling down to Maryland, BU fell to a relatively underwhelming Navy side that had not secured a win in the Patriot League before that fixture. Senior Adam Wright provided an opening goal — a certain positive for a team that has had a tendency to save most of their scoring for the second half. However, the Midshipmen worked their way back into the match, eventually finding an equalizer in the 71st minute and a late winner in the 85th.
The Terriers will have to refocus quickly against an Army side trending in the opposite direction. The Black Knights have won three of their last five, including a victory over the weekend against a Bucknell XI who sit fifth in the Patriot League, just one point ahead of Army. Keenan O’Shea remains the main threat up top, and has been one of the best players in the league all season. The junior leads the league in goals, points, and points per game, and has scored four goals in his last three games.
Taking on O’Shea and a high-flying Army squad will be a tough test for the Terriers, but head coach Neil Roberts’s men have developed a chip on their shoulder through the adversity faced both through injuries and match results, and will be chomping at the bit ahead of this crucial Patriot League clash.
The game will be played at BU’s Nickerson Field on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.