The Boston University men’s soccer team will look to log their first victory of the season on Saturday against the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This game will mark BU’s (0-4) second straight road game.
The Terriers have gotten off to a slow start, but the last time BU started its season 0-4, in 2004, it finished 10-8-3.
It appears that BU head coach Neil Roberts’ squad is direly missing the presence and leadership of senior midfielder Anthony Viteri. However, Roberts has consistently backed his team, believing that the chances they have gotten will soon turn to goals and eventually wins.
On the other hand, the Minutemen (2-1-1) have gotten off to a nice start and won their first two matchups. However, UMass lost their last game 0-3 to the No. 24 The University of New Hampshire.
The Terriers also lost their last game 3-0 to the University at Albany on the road. According to Roberts, the focus is more on what his team needs to do rather than putting all the attention on the Minutemen.
“We’re still trying to find our identity and I think we’re close, believe it or not, despite the results,” Roberts said. “We’re going to worry about ourselves. We got a few more matches to get ready for the conference.”
While it may be more about focusing on his own team than the opponent, Roberts knows he cannot forget UMass’ ability. Senior forward
has already posted six points in four games for the Minutemen and will look to be contained by the Terrier defense.
“They are rebuilding the team from last year and the results have been good up until their loss against New Hampshire,” Roberts said. “I think they have a lot of confidence coming in, but we have to worry about what we need to do.”
He said he has been happy with the results of the younger players, such as freshman back Elias Lampis, who has started all four games and already totaled two shots on goal. Sophomore midfielder Jerry Ozor has also impressed on both sides of the ball and tallied four shots taken through the first four games as a starter.
Roberts said he sees the potential from the youth of the team, and acknowledged that they must play better on the defensive side of things given the winless start.
BU has allowed 12 goals through its first four regular season games and has not scored any of its own with the exception of its exhibition game against the Haiti National Olympic Team. While a minus 12 difference is quite eye-popping, Roberts believes his team will improve.
“I think we are creating good chances and a lot of them,” Roberts said. “We’re obviously not finishing them off, but a lot of that has to do with being behind early. Once you get behind, it is more difficult to break them down.”
In net, the Terriers have looked to all three goalkeepers so far to make the big saves. It still remains up in the air as to who will be the man in net heading into conference play.
Transfer sophomore Michael Bernardi started the first two games and freshman William Bonnelyche has taken over the goal during the last two contests. Senior Bjorn Kammholz only played 24 minutes in the Aug. 27 game against BC.
All three goalkeepers have surrendered their fair share of goals, which has Roberts still searching for his go-to guy.
“We will look at the goalkeeping situation,” Roberts said. “William is very young and Mike has had a little of experience and Bjorn has been here for three years now. It is all about who can make us that big save.”
While it will be no easy task, BU will look to improve from its first four games against UMass to earn its first victory of the season.
“I think the young players are really starting to come together, but we need to play better defensively,” Roberts said. “It’s really about us, it’s not really about UMass.”