The Boston University men’s soccer team conceded two late-game goals to Army West Point on Wednesday, spoiling what had been a strong team effort in a 2-0 loss in West Point, New York.
The Black Knights (6-2-1, 3-0 Patriot League) outlasted the Terriers (1-6-1, 1-2 PL) in the final 15 minutes of the match, as the Black Knights’ goals came within a four-minute span to capture the victory.
BU junior goalkeeper Francesco Montali misjudged a cross from Army senior forward John Poncy, leading to a tap-in goal for freshman forward Andrew Guerra in minute 76. Soon after, senior midfielder Oscar Pereira hit the dagger with a hard strike into the bottom left corner of the net in minute 80.
“We had long spells that we were the better team,” BU head coach Kevin Nylen said. “If you don’t take your chances, and take it well, and go up a goal and/or two goals, you leave yourself open to get scored on, and that’s what happened.”
The Terriers held a majority of possession in the first half, although neither team was able to find many chances on goal.
BU restructured its tactical scheme from its previous match, shifting into a 4-3-3 formation to stretch the field and decongest the middle of the pitch. Although the strategy didn’t result in goals, Nylen was pleased with the adjustment, which he said the coaching staff made based on watching film on Army before the game.
“We had more scoring opportunities, we had more services,” Nylen said. “We found joy, we found momentum, we found chances, and it was the right plan.”
On the defensive side of the ball, BU’s back line made life easy for Montali in his return to the starting lineup — Army had no shots on goal at the end of the half.
The Terriers started the second half strong, almost scoring on a chance from junior midfielder Miles Dycaico cleared out on the goal line by Army sophomore fullback Jack Eaton.
Army’s attack remained dormant in the early moments of the second half but quickly awakened after the Black Knights subbed the dangerous tandem of Pereira and Guerra back into the game. The duo has combined for over 40% of Army’s goals this season.
Once Pereira and Guerra were subbed in, they made an instant impact on the offensive end, creating chances in Army’s attacking third and causing a momentum shift which culminated in their two goals to give the Black Knights the advantage.
The defeat dropped BU to eighth place in the Patriot League, while Army retained its position atop the conference standings.
The Terriers now find themselves outside of the Patriot League Tournament picture –– berths are only awarded to the top six teams in the conference. But with six Patriot League matches left on the schedule, Nylen said the team isn’t worried about its position in the standings just yet.
“There’s a lot of points still on the table,” Nylen said. “There’s no concern in terms of where we’re at based upon how early in the conference season it is.”
Still, the Terriers will need to find a way to score goals to overcome their recent woes. The loss to Army was BU’s second consecutive scoreless effort, and the Terriers haven’t scored a goal in 186 minutes of play.
BU will look to snap its recent skid on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. when the Terriers take on Loyola University Maryland at Parsons Field in Brookline.