The Boston University men’s soccer team came into Friday’s game against the Providence College looking for its fourth consecutive victory, but the game created more questions than answers for the exasperated Terriers. The contest ended in a 2-0 Providence win and dropped the Terriers back to .500.
In their recent stretch of games, the Terriers (3-3) have had to rely on their strong defensive play, but that was missing in this game.
“I think it’s just the amount of physical hard games we’ve had in a row, from [No. 1 University of] Connecticut to Hofstra [University],” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “You look at them, and they [Hofstra] were in the [Colonial Athletic Association] championship game last year and are a team that could win their conference, and look at Northeastern [University] and they won their conference, Monmouth [University] won their conference, they’re all good teams and all hard games.”
Some of the Terriers’ prominent players are facing injuries, including junior defender Kelvin Madzongwe, junior forward Dominique Badji and freshman forward Felix De Bona.
“Hopefully Dom’s [Badji] alright and Felix [De Bona] is okay,” Roberts said. “Kelvin [Madzongwe] will hopefully be back byWednesday, and if not, then definitely Saturday. We’ll get our whole team and get some rest this weekend.”
Getting Madzongwe, the 2011 America East Defender of the Year, back on the field is important to stabilize a Terrier defense that had a shaky performance against a highly skilled Providence team.
The Friars (5-0-2) were determined to score from the onset of the game with their first goal coming in the 29th minute courtesy of forward Fabio Machado with assists from freshman Dominic Machado and defender Brandon Adler. The second goal of the game — Machado’s second — came in the 61st minute.
Both goals may have been prevented if the Terriers had been a little fresher with their feet. Having played against tough opponents such as UConn (3-2-1) and Hofstra (3-3-1), the Terriers have been worn down. This tiredness became evident as Badji had an opportunity in the eighth minute to give the Terriers a goal, but his header bounced off the crossbar.
“I think tonight was just fatigue,” Roberts said. “Coming in, I knew that might be an issue and we tried to deal with it. If [Badji] puts that ball in at the beginning of the game, maybe the legs are a little lighter.”
BU had held opponents to a total of one goal in its three-game winning streak, but it could not control an explosive Friar attack. Providence has scored 13 times in seven games and has only allowed six to opponents. Coupled with an impressive attack and BU missing its top defender, it was a tough task to control the attack-minded Friars. In the game, the Friars were able to post 21 shots, nine of which were on goal.
Roberts said Madzongwe’s return will help balance out the entire field.
“Well, hopefully Kelvin’s back,” Roberts said about the next game. “It’s a two-fold thing for us like against Northeastern (2-3-2). [Freshman midfielder] David [Asbjornsson] did a good job in the back. When we take [Asbjornsson] and put him in the back he does a good job, but we lose a lot in the midfield, so the adjustment hopefully is that Kelvin is ready to go.
“We’ve got a good team and we’re going to be fine. We’re going to make the adjustments and get the guys back.”
Still, consistency on defense and health will be crucial as the Terriers look to begin Patriot League play next week.
“I look back at the last three games and I know what we’re capable of doing,” Roberts said. “Two and a half of those games were without Kelvin. Like I said, once we get Kelvin back and start working up front, then we’re fine.”