The Boston University men’s soccer team’s match against Northeastern University had all the makings of a heated crosstown rivalry game: chippy play, thrilling lead changes and bad blood.
The Terriers (3-8-2, 2-3-1 Patriot League) erased a deficit to defeat the Huskies (9-4-2) 3-1 Tuesday night at Nickerson Field, winning two straight for the first time this season.
“Whether it’s a local rival, it’s a non-conference game against a team who’s had a really good year,” head coach Kevin Nylen said postgame. “You go down a goal, to come back in the second half and respond, I thought it was a really good performance by the guys tonight.”
The contest was physical from kick-off to the final whistle — a total of 36 fouls were called and four yellow cards were dealt in the game.
Tensions flared midway through the first half when Nylen and Northeastern head coach Chris Gbandi engaged in a heated shouting match on the sidelines until the two were separated by the referee.
While not revealing what prompted the disagreement, Nylen called it “just coaches being competitive and wanting the best.”
Junior midfielder Quinn Matulis caught the worst of the physicality in the 11th minute, suffering an injury that kept him out of the rest of the game.
Nylen said he was confident that Matulis’ injury wasn’t serious, saying there was “nothing to it” and the midfielder “had some spasms.”
The Huskies found the back of the net first in the 40th minute off a corner kick. Freshman forward Sebastian Restrepo headed a ball past BU junior goalkeeper Francesco Montali to give Northeastern a 1-0 advantage.
BU bounced back quickly after the break, equalizing in the 50th minute on a penalty kick. Sophomore midfielder Eitan Rosen drew the penalty for the Terriers after he was dragged down inside the 18-yard box, and junior forward Ronaldo Marshall capitalized by calmly placing a strike into the bottom of the net.
The goal electrified the home crowd and energized the Terriers. Soon after, BU began to dominate possession of the game and create a series of chances on net.
In one three-minute span between the 56th and 59th minutes, the Terriers generated four corner kick opportunities while forcing significant pressure on Northeastern redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Colby Hegarty — the Huskies only won five corner kicks in the game.
Rosen nearly put BU ahead with a well-hit volley curling towards the top right corner, but a diving effort by Hegarty kept the score knotted at one in the 57th minute.
The Terriers’ relentless attack finally paid off in the 59th minute, after Marshall sent a close-range rebound into a vacated goal to give the Terriers a 2-1 advantage, and Marshall his second goal of the game.
After taking the lead, BU never looked back. The Terriers won their second penalty of the game in the 83rd minute, and though junior midfielder Colin Innes’ strike from the penalty was saved by Hegarty, the rebound was ultimately put home by Innes to cushion the BU advantage and seal the 3-1 victory for the Terriers.
Although BU has struggled to put the ball in the net throughout this season, the Terriers are finally hitting their stride in the final third.
BU’s three goals on Tuesday marked its most in a game this season. The Terriers have now scored five goals in their last two games after tallying just seven in their previous 11 matches.
“Slowly as we continue to go here and we continue to play better and better, we’re now creating more chances,” Nylen said. “I thought we’ve played well and we’ve created chances, and you could say we probably created more than three goals’ worth tonight.”
The Terriers next travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where they will seek their third consecutive victory in an Oct. 23 conference matchup with Bucknell University at 12 p.m.