The Boston University men’s soccer team will stay in state Sunday to take on the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The Terriers (2-1) met with Siena College Tuesday on Nickerson Field and took that game 1-0. The match against the Saints (0-2-2) was a solid bounce back from the home opening loss against Boston College, and BU hopes to build on the things they found effective against Siena.
So far this season, the Terriers’ offense can be summed up in three words: Felix De Bona. The junior forward leads the team in goals (3) and points (7) through three games, and is in a five-way tie for the team lead in assists with freshman forward T.J. Butzke and sophomore midfielders Anthony Viteri, David Amirani and Adam Sheikali, all of whom are tied at one.
De Bona’s 47th minute header just off the hands of Saints’ goalkeeper Ryan Vyskocil gave the Terriers the narrow win and was his third in as many contests. De Bona has three times as many goals this season as the entire Minutemen (0-4) offense.
While De Bona has been the obvious standout on offense for the Terriers thus far, the progress the unit has made as a whole is worth noting. Before their game against Siena, BU coach Neil Roberts explained that he wanted the offense to become more well-rounded, specifically mentioning the need for better play on the flanks. The set up on De Bona’s most recent goal is a perfect example of that wide action.
After senior midfielder Richie Robinson brought the ball up the side, he led Viteri up the line, who then ran the give-and-go with Amirani. The play led to a perfect cross from Viteri, which De Bona sent home.
“That was something we’ve been working on and it’s nice to see it play out in a match,” Roberts said. “We have to get more consistent and keep it going for a longer period of time, but I thought that was a definite positive step for the flank.”
Plays like the De Bona goal are exactly what Roberts hopes for from players on the outside, and something that they will work on against UMass.
Matt Gilbert posts first clean sheet since 2013
After a solid showing against Fordham University and a shaky outing against BC (3-1), junior goalkeeper Matt Gilbert got his first shutout of 2015 against Siena. It was also his first since Oct. 30, 2013, when the Terriers beat Colgate University, 3-0.
In the first half, Siena had virtually zero opportunities to score. With only four shots faced, Gilbert was only required to make one save. In the second half, however, the Saints woke up and surged on offense, outshooting the Terriers 11-6. Gilbert made three saves and shut Siena down, giving him four on the day en route to the clean sheet.
The match against the Saints represents another teachable moment for the defense as a unit, and Roberts believes it will be the catalyst for more progress.
“I think we played better. Not great, but better,” Roberts said. “With the defense there were some breakdowns in the second half, but we definitely were better. We’re hoping that some of the stuff we saw with Siena is just the beginning of things that are going to come.”