Men’s soccer could not convert scoring opportunities into goals
Despite outshooting New York University and Brandeis University this weekend, the Washington University men’s soccer team dropped both matches, falling to 6-5-1 on the year. Wash. U. has lost three straight games and has not scored in 237 minutes of game time.
The Bears fell to NYU, 1-0, on Friday night, before losing to Brandeis on Sunday, 3-0.
“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes, but when we did, the other team capitalized on them,” head coach Joe Clarke said. “That really kind of summarized the weekend.”
The Bears had 11 shots against NYU while holding the Violets to just six and also led in corner kicks, 7-2, but could not take advantage of any of their chances to score. The teams were tied at halftime before the Violets’ senior midfielder Sergio Monton scored from 10 yards out in the 49th minute. Wash. U. kept attacking, sending seven shots in the second half, but had just two shots on goal. In the 75th minute, senior Jack Newman had an opportunity from the top of the box, but his bicycle kick went wide left. The Bears did not get off another shot.
The story was the same against Brandeis. The Judges jumped out to an early lead with two goals within the first five minutes of the game, putting the Bears behind quickly. The first goal came in the third minute when Brandeis senior Max Breiter slipped into the box and headed a ball just over the outstretched hand of Wash. U. senior keeper Connor Mathes, who leapt but could not keep the ball from finding the net above him. The second goal followed in quick succession, when a Brandeis freshman slammed a shot into the back corner past a diving Mathes. From then on, the Bears had to play catch up.
Wash. U. outshot Brandeis, 20-12, but, as against NYU, did not find the goal. Sophomore Alistair Shaw had five shots, including one that came close to going in before Brandeis keeper Greg Irwin deflected the ball over the net. Irwin, a sophomore who transferred from Division I Rutgers University this year, had saves on all four of the Bears’ shots on goal.
“We had lots and lots of the ball in both games and had the other team on their heels in both games, quite a bit,” Clarke said. “That means that a lot of players were back in the defensive penalty area or back on their end and they blocked our shots or we didn’t finish.”
Brandeis did more than just keep Wash. U. out of the goal after the two scores early, adding an insurance score in the 77th minute.
Clarke said that the turf at Brandeis gave the Bears problems, observing that players slipped on the field 10-12 times and that the ball was very bouncy at times, including in the third minute when Breiter took advantage of a high hop before his header. “It was a bit of a bad break today,” he said. “It’s something different about their turf.”
After the two losses, Clarke remained optimistic. “I think that, for the most part, in either of these two games, if someone just came to the game and watched for a while and didn’t see any goals, they probably would have predicted that Wash. U. had won the games,” he said.
“We’re going to keep working on what we do,” Clarke said. “Hopefully we get to where we can convert our chances and go out there and win the four games that are left in the season.”
The Bears travel to Wisconsin next weekend for the last game of a four-game road trip. They will face the University of Wisconsin-Platteville at noon on Saturday.