The Boston University men’s soccer team took on Providence College to finish a four-game homestand on Friday night. Despite coming in with three straight wins, the Terriers were not able to close out the home stretch on a positive note, falling 2-0 to the Friars.
The Friars (5-0-2) boast a prominent attack that had scored 11 goals in six games coming into the contest, and that offensive prowess was on full display Friday night. The Friars were able to create many opportunities, finishing with a 21-9 advantage in shots.
“They beat us to every ball,” said BU coach Neil Roberts on the Friar attack. “They put a lot of pressure on us. We have to deal better with pressure. That’s something we need to work on and get better at. Providence sat all week and they knew we had some physical games.”
Providence was relentless right out of the gates. The Friars’ first shot came in the third minute, and after that the shots began to mount. A free kick came from the foot of forward Markus Naglestad in the 14th minute, as he rifled the ball in from just outside the left flank of the 18-yard box. It took a jumping two-handed save by redshirt freshman goalie Matt Gilbert to keep the game even.
“Gilbert’s playing well,” Roberts said. “He’s done a really fantastic job for us. I would say he’s the number one goalkeeper now.”
Junior forward Dominique Badji looked to answer the Providence attack and flicked a header against the crossbar in the eighth minute, which turned out to be the Terriers’ (3-3) best opportunity of the night.
The Friars then had another chance in the 27th minute, with a one-on-one confrontation in the right side of the goal box between midfielder Manny Andrade and Gilbert. Andrade booted it past Gilbert but went just wide of the netting.
Moments later forward Fabio Machado came in as a substitute and scored in the 28th minute. A combination of a low ball across the 18-yard box from freshman Dominik Machado and bad communication between Gilbert and his defenders led to an easy goal for Fabio Machado, who placed it in the left bottom corner from 10 yards out.
Providence got another one-on-one chance from Fabio Machado in the 41st minute, but he was stopped by Gilbert, who made a diving save to prevent another score.
The Friars continued to push the ball, ending the half with nine more shots than the Terriers. They also brought in a 5-1 corner advantage into the halftime break.
The Terriers came out with more energy in the opening minutes of the second half, as they connected on passes and displayed some offensive continuity. That trend did not last long, however, as a shot from Kilday came firing in from the left flank for the Friars. The shot was saved by Gilbert but the Friars flew into the box looking for the rebound. Fabio Machado was able to turn in the loose ball for his second goal of the contest, with this one coming in the 61st minute.
“It was a really bad goal to give up, especially with timing of it and the way we gave the goal up,” Roberts said. “Some guys were flat-footed and the ball was bouncing in front of people.”
After the second goal, neither team possessed the ball for an extended period, as the ball was kicked back and forth between each team.
“We had no legs, the three games we just played in a row took their toll on the guys,” Roberts said on the weary Terrier players that had fatigue problems in the second half. “We had guys getting hurt, so we went pretty deep in the second half.”
Senior midfielder Anthony Ciccone and freshman forward Felix De Bona were quiet during the match, as the Friars seemed to have every answer for both main components of the Terrier offense. Despite holding a 4-2 corner advantage in the half, the Terriers could not get a quality opportunity. After all was said and done, the Terriers fell to Providence by a score of 2-0.
“Obviously it’s disappointing,” Roberts said about the loss. “But you have to give Providence credit. They definitely outplayed us from start to finish. We just had no answers. We couldn’t move, we couldn’t pass.”