Coming off Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Navy, the Boston University men’s soccer team looked to bounce back against a hot Brown University team Tuesday evening. Instead, the Terriers took a step back in a 3-1 loss against the Bears, the team’s last non-conference game of the season.
“[Brown] definitely dominated in the midfield,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “We made some changes, we had some injuries and moved some guys around and tried something new. It just didn’t work.”
Injuries have had a serious impact on the Terriers (3-5-1) in recent weeks, and Roberts said that they are starting to take a toll on the team.
“You’ve got to deal with it,” Roberts said. “You’d like to have your team building going forward, but it doesn’t always happen. Injuries we have right now aren’t long injuries. Guys will be back soon. It’s just something that you’ve got to deal with and we’re going to deal with it together. It’s just unfortunate that they are all kind of in the same area.”
Junior goalkeeper Nick Thomson allowed a goal from Brown forward Jack Gorab in the second minute of regulation. Following a goal from BU junior forward Dominique Badji, assisted by senior midfielder Vicente Colmenares, in the sixth minute of the game, the Bears (3-4-1) responded with goals from forward Voltaire Escalona in the 19th minute and from freshman forward Nate Pomeroy in the 29th minute.
BU created multiple chances to rally back in the second half. The Terriers were awarded a penalty in the 55th minute. Badji stepped up to the spot and shot toward the right post, but was stopped by Brown goalie Josh Weiner. Sophomore forward Lucas McBride’s attempt in the 61st minute was blocked and sophomore forward Mac McGuire sent a shot wide in the 62nd minute. The Terriers’ last chance came from freshman forward David Asbjornsson, who sent a free kick over the crossbar in the 86th minute.
“I thought today, we created a lot of chances, more than what we created all year,” Roberts said. “We didn’t finish, we created the penalty, we didn’t convert the penalty so it’s just a couple of things. We just need to create chances and the goals will come.”
Although the Terriers struggled during the night, Roberts was able to take one positive from the loss.
“The only positive was in the first half when we came back and tied it up,” Roberts said. “We went to halftime, we were down 3-1 and we wanted to within 10 minutes get a goal. We got the penalty about five to six minutes in so I thought that was good. We’ve got to do better in the midfield. We’ve got to do better defending one-on-one. We just didn’t compete today as well as we could have or should have.”
Thomson had not played since his start on Sept. 11 against Hofstra University, when he allowed one goal and six saves.Tuesday night against the Bears, Thomson made eight saves on 11 shots on goal.
“Nick was ready to go,” Roberts said. “He’s healthy and he’s been training well. I just felt that he was ready to play. He’s a good goalie, he just didn’t get a lot of help today.”
Thomson, who has been recovering from offseason surgery, has impressed Roberts in practice.
“He’s shown an ability to explode,” Roberts said. “With the surgery that he had, his core wasn’t really strong yet and it’s getting better now. I just thought that he looked good. He could protect himself and he could take of crosses and so forth.”
Redshirt freshman goalie Matt Gilbert, who is 24th nationally with his .846 save percentage, sat on the bench after allowing three goals in the last three games to Providence College, Harvard University and the U.S. Naval Academy. Gilbert has been a large part of the Terriers’ success so far this season by keeping the team in games where the offense has struggled to create opportunities.
Roberts said that the team will use both goalies going forward, but would not commit to either receiving the majority of playing time.
“It’s just a matter of having two good goalies,” Roberts said. “We just have to make a decision … depending on what the opponent is like and obviously the two goalies, Gilbert being 6’5 and Nick being a little quicker so it’s just depending on the opponent and so forth.”
After scoring six goals in three games against Hofstra, Monmouth University and Northeastern University, the Terriers have one goal in the last four contests. The Terriers were outshot by the Bears 17 to 12 and trailed in corner kicks 16 to five.
With their recent struggles, Roberts is looking for the leaders of the Terriers to step up and lead the team past their injuries and offensive issues.
“It starts with the older guys, the seniors,” Roberts said. “They’ve got to really step forward and take it by the horns and deal with it.”