Soccer, Sports

Men’s soccer still finding its way offensively after win over UMass

Junior midfielder Anthony Viteri scored his second goal of the season on Saturday. PHOTO BY ANN SINGER/ DFP FILE PHOTO
Junior midfielder Anthony Viteri scored his second goal of the season on Saturday. PHOTO BY ANN SINGER/ DFP FILE PHOTO

The Boston University men’s soccer offense kicked into gear on Saturday in its 2-1 victory over the University of Massachusetts Amherst at Nickerson Field.

The Terriers (1-1) dictated the tempo and were on the attack for nearly the entire game.

Despite dominating possession and hounding UMass (0-4-1) goalkeeper Jorge Beccera, BU never quite put its foot on the gas, as the Minutemen were either tied or within one goal of BU the whole game.

BU had twice as many shots (17) as the Minutemen (8), but what concerned BU head coach Neil Roberts was the fact that only five of the Terriers’ shots were on goal.

“I thought our possession was good, but we didn’t attack enough,” Roberts said. “They played very organized defensively, but we need to have a little more of a killer instinct. It’s a work in progress.”

The Terrier offense was relentless in pursuit of the ball. BU began the game making long runs down the sides of the field and looking to send crosses into the box. The Minutemen played very conservative all night, keeping eight to 10 defenders in the middle of the field at all times, even when they trailed with time running out.

Considering how little commitment the Minutemen showed toward trying to score, Roberts was noticeably frustrated that BU conceded an early goal that kept the game close.

“The way they were playing, they really shouldn’t have gotten a goal against us,” Roberts said. “It’s disappointing we gave up that goal in the first half.”

The first action on the scoreboard came from a goal by senior midfielder David Asbjornsson. Asbjornsson, who was named to the Patriot League All-Conference First Team a season ago, scored his third career goal and second against UMass by flicking in a free kick from senior forward Mark Wadid.

Even after the Minutemen tied it up on a headed goal by junior Alex DeSantis, BU quickly regained control of possession and went right back on the attack.

The Terriers amped up the pressure on Beccera, and they finally broke through on a tremendous turnaround goal by junior forward Anthony Viteri. When the Flushing, New York, native dribbled the ball to the top of the box, he stopped on a dime, spun around and ripped a perfectly placed shot with his left foot. The shot bounced in front of a diving Becerra and inside the right post.

It was Viteri’s second goal in as many games this season, and he is sure to be a major contributor for the Terriers in 2016.

“There’s so much more in him that we’ve got to get out,” Roberts said. “Against that team it was difficult because they played so defensive. It wasn’t really his type of game, but he still got a goal.”

Aside from Viteri, senior forward Felix De Bona had the greatest impact on the offense. De Bona found ways to get himself behind UMass defenders and into the box. Although he couldn’t convert on multiple chances to score, he still attracted three to four Minutemen every time he touched the ball in the box, allowing his fellow Terriers to find open space.

Another bright spot for the Terriers offense was the promising play of underclassmen. Freshmen midfielder Jerry Ozor and forward Matt McDonnell each showed offensive promise and were able to get good looks at goal. They will surely see their playing increase as they adjust to the offense.

“It’s just a matter of getting these guys some time,” Roberts said. “The more time they get, once we really need them — injuries or when guys are tired — they’ll be good to go.”

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