Soccer, Sports

Final stretch crucial for m. soccer

The Boston University men’s soccer team has picked up momentum at just the right time. The Terriers, currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak, play their second-to-last game of the season tomorrow at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
After starting the season 2-4-2, the Terriers (7-5-3, 4-1-1 America East) are 4-0-1 over their last five contests. BU (13 points) is currently tied for first place in the conference standings with the University at Albany. UMBC (6-6-2, 1-3-1 AE) carries four points into tomorrow’s matchup.
While Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against the University of Vermont might have been a setback, BU coach Neil Roberts doesn’t see it as one. Roberts said his team needs to refocus and that Wednesday’s tie will not affect BU’s approach against UMBC.
‘UMBC is a very good attacking team,’ Roberts said. ‘Usually, that’s good. It will be an open game. It will give us some space and it will give them some space. It’s just a matter of not making mistakes and doing the little things we usually do to help us win.’
The Terriers will have to dodge the bullet that is UMBC’s Andrew Bulls, this week’s America East Rookie of the Week. Bulls is tied for third in the league in goals along with BU’s Shaun Taylor and Albany’s Shaun Kane. All three players have seven goals.
But Roberts’ team will not pay Bulls any special attention.
‘We face leading goal scorers on teams every week,’ Roberts said. ‘Someone has to be the leading goal scorer on each team we play. He’s a good player, and they have other good players as well. You have to be aware of everybody.’
While Taylor leads the Terriers in goals, junior midfielder Tom Strackhouse ranks second in this category after notching his fourth goal of the season Wednesday night against Vermont.
Strackhouse has been a force off the bench for the Terriers this season.
‘ ‘Tommy’s done well,’ Roberts said after Wednesday’s game. ‘He’s finishing well and he’s winning balls for us. He’s fought hard to get himself on the field and he’s done a good job with his opportunities.’
‘Coming off the bench, you only get so many minutes to play. So you’ve got to bring 100 percent and just play as long as you can,’ Strackhouse said.
Freshman Michael Bustamante, another major factor in the Terrier offense, ranks second on the team in points with 10 and is tied for second with sophomore Aaron O’Neal with six assists. Bustamante recorded his sixth helper on Strackhouse’s goal Wednesday.
Roberts said his team would be well served by winning tomorrow and taking three points in the conference standings.
‘We’re in first place, but we would like to be there by ourselves,’ Roberts said. ‘We’ve got two games left, so we can still control where we finish and how we do. It’s just a matter of taking care of business at UMBC. Then we have one game at home to take care of things.
‘Right now, everything is up to how we perform on Saturday. If we perform well, we’ll be in a good spot.’

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