Soccer, Sports

Men’s soccer bracing for road match against Northeastern

Freshman defender Bjarki Benediktsson has been a reliable presence in the BU backfield. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Looking to add another win to the season, the Boston University men’s soccer team will visit Northeastern University Tuesday in a matchup of crosstown foes.

“It’s a very difficult place to play,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “It’s something we are going to have to deal with, learning how to win tough games on the road.”

Both the Terriers (3-2) and the Huskies (2-3) are coming off strong wins that snapped losing streaks.

Saturday night, BU posted a 2-0 over the University of Massachusetts-Amherst at Nickerson Field, which ended a two-game skid, while the Huskies won an overtime thriller against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell that broke a three-game losing trend.

BU took down the Minutemen due to first-half goals from senior midfielder Jordan Barker and sophomore midfielder David Asbjornsson.

In the match, BU recorded 18 shots, but only found the back of the net twice. The team has taken 82 shots on the year, good for third in the Patriot League, yet they have only converted on four of those attempts.

“The biggest thing is consistent goal scoring. That’s what we have to do,” Roberts said. “We’re creating chances, and now we have to do a good job finishing these chances we are creating.”

Senior forward Dominique Badji, the 2013 Patriot League All-Conference Second Team member, leads the league in shots per game with 5.6, but has yet to make a mark on the scoreboard.

Despite this lack of offense, the BU defense has excelled early on in the 2014 campaign, posting three shutouts in its opening five games, while only allowing two goals.

Senior defender Kelvin Madzongwe and junior defender Jeroen Blugh lead the defense, and both have significant experience in preventing goals. Freshman defender Bjarki Benediktsson has made a positive impression in his first appearance with the club, starting all five games for the team this season.

“Probably, consistently, Kelvin is the player that’s been improving the most,” Roberts said. “He is probably the one playing the best right now, but a lot of people are starting to get their game. The beginning of the season is difficult because you are playing so many games in a short period of time.

“Collectively, as a group, we have been playing very good team defense. Obviously, the defenders are doing well, but as a group, as a team of 11 people, we are defending very well.”

Meanwhile, the Huskies are trying to continue the momentum from their overtime victory over the River Hawks (2-4) after defeating them 2-1.

Leading the team is defender Ambry Moss, a 2013 All-Colonial Athletic Association Third Team member, and senior Donovan Fayd’Herbe de Maudave, a preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention player.

Freshman Jonathan Thuresson, who has started three games and collected one shutout, will likely be in between the goal posts for the Huskies. The Örebro, Sweden native has posted a 1.00 goals-against average with a .765 save percentage.

“They are a good team, they are young, but they have some talented players,” Roberts said. “It’s just more about us. Can we put two halves together, and can we play as well on the road as we know we are capable of?”

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