MEN'S SOCCER: Rugg And Boateng Spark BC
Explosive Forwards Net Two Goals Each To Push Eagles Past URI
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The Boston College men’s soccer squad looked lethal offensively in a 4-2 victory over the Rhode Island Rams on Tuesday in Newton, but the explosive display of attacking prowess was dimmed by lackluster second half defending and an emerging goalie drama. Despite the problems of the last 45 minutes, the growing partnership between veteran striker Charlie Rugg and maverick freshman Derrick Boateng stole the show in the victory, as each grabbed two goals and an assist.
Playing with the cohesion of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Rugg and Boateng began terrorizing the Rams within minutes of kickoff.
“We’ve been trying to work that in. They’re very good,” said head coach Ed Kelly. Just how good they were became very clear in the 10th minute when Boateng—running onto a pass from center midfielder Jason Abbott—whipped a cross into the air space of Rugg, who took it off the chest and cranked it past Rhode Island’s shell-shocked goalie. Rugg didn’t have to wait long to return the favor, picking up an assist in the 27th minute when Boateng came crashing down on goal to tap in the rebound of his shot.
The dynamic duo provided a grade-A example of the old adage “opposites attract.” Rugg, a classic number nine, used his physicality and strength to hold up the ball time and time again and create a nightmare for the diminutive Rams’ defense. Overwhelmed by Rugg’s strength and size, Rhode Island was forced to devote less coverage to the lightning-fast and technically-gifted Boateng. This imbalance left gaping holes in the back four, ready to be exploited. That exploitation precisely occurred in the 36th minute, when senior midfielder Kyle Bekker split the Rams with a through ball, leaving Rugg to coolly send it home for a convincing 3-0 lead at halftime.
Unexpected at halftime was the emergence of veteran goalkeeper Justin Luthy. Luthy, who sat out on Saturday for the first time in 54 games, replaced the starter, Alex Kapp. A freshman, Kapp played well against San Francisco this past weekend, and looked sharp against Rhode Island, but faced only three shots.
Adjusting to the rhythm of game at halftime is never easy for a goalkeeper, and the petulant Rams were soon able to cause a substantial amount of trouble for Luthy and his defense. In the 51st minute, the Rams took advantage of a disorganized defense to ruin BC’s shutout prospects.
Seven minutes later, Boateng was able to bring the goal differential between the Eagles and the Rams to three again. Making a skillful run to connect on Christian Johnson’s chipped through-ball, Boateng added another goal to his tally.
Despite the goal that should have crushed the haughtiest of spirits, the Rams refused to surrender. Instead, they got chippy, fouling Boateng at every turn and breaking up the flow of BC’s attack. Then, to make matters worse, Rhode Island striker Thomas Lindroos broke through the BC defense and chipped the ball over Luthy, who was caught in no man’s land between his six and the 18-yard box.
Clearly frustrated by the events of the second half, Kelly addressed the status of his goalkeepers, saying: “This is an easy game, then we turn it into a 4-2 game, it should have been 6-0.”
“We’re trying to make [Kapp and Luthy] compete for it,” Kelly said of the starting goaltender decision for Friday’s matchup with North Carolina State. Notably, this stands in contrast to Saturday, when Kelly said, “I think Justin probably has to come back in for Friday against North Carolina State.”
Despite the unfolding keeper drama, Luthy displayed bright moments against the Rams, dominating in the air and flying full extension for one spectacular save. Kapp also looked solid, distributing the ball extremely well. Additionally, Luthy is not completely to blame for an unorganized defense, and the Rams’ first goal was largely unstoppable for the keeper.
Regardless of who starts between the pipes on Friday night, the Eagles are looking to unleash their lethal offense on NC State. With Bekker, Boateng, and Rugg forming a deadly attacking triangle, BC will look to add some goals to the stat sheet, improve to 6-3-1, and keep its eyes on NCAA qualifying. Taking it game by game, Kelly knows that his Eagles will look to gain momentum heading into the heart of their season.
“We’ll take it and move on,” Kelly said.