Eagles Continue Skid Against No. 2 Wake Forest

Men’s soccer hasn’t scored a goal in two weeks. Since a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh on Friday, Oct. 7, BC has failed to find the back of the net over a four-game skid, in which it has lost three games and tied one.

The most recent loss came Saturday night at the hands of No. 2 Wake Forest (12-2-2, 5-1-1 Atlantic Coast), which only needed one goal to defeat the Eagles (6-6-2, 2-3-2).

The lack of form is not just a recent dip in performance. Since starting 4-1-0 and opening conference play with a win against Duke, the Eagles are 2-5-2. While they have played well against top-five teams—tying both Louisville and Clemson—they have dropped points to Harvard and Connecticut.

Outside of a five-goal outburst against Albany in September, BC hasn’t scored more than one goal in a match since its third game of the year. The team just can’t seem to find the back of the net, but against Wake, it wasn’t for lack of chances.

Wake Forest dominated the first half by all measures, keeping a lion’s share of possession and sending 13 shots toward goalkeeper Cedric Saladin. Saladin had an exceptional half with seven saves, three of which came in rapid succession, just 10 seconds apart. Despite the superiority of the home team, BC had six shots on goal and forced the opposing goalie Alec Ferrell into three saves.

The Demon Deacons took advantage of the best chance of the half when forward Jon Bakero slipped past the defense for a breakaway goal, beating Saladin to his right, in the 19th minute.

BC turned the tables in the second half and took the game to Wake Forest in search of an equalizer. In a complete reversal, the Eagles had seven shots, while allowing just one shot from the Deacons that was off target.

BC’s first big opportunity of the match came in the 55th minute, when Ferrell denied Zeiko Lewis at point-blank range and Lewis’s second-chance header went over the bar.

BC’s other big chance of the game came in the 79th minute, when a Callum Johnson free-kick from 30 yards out forced Ferrell into a diving save to the left—his fifth and final save of the half.

Despite an abundance of talent in attack, the Eagles have yet to find a winning combination. Leading goal-scorer Max Schulze-Geisthovel broke out early and picked up the majority of minutes at striker for a six-game stretch, but after picking up a knock and missing the Clemson game, he has only played 30 minutes at UConn and 20 minutes against Wake Forest.

With Trevor Davock still yet to find a goal this year, BC opted to move Mohammed Moro up from defense to outside midfield, pushing Davock to the bench and Ike Normesinu to forward alongside Simon Enstrom. Davock and Enstrom looked to be potent strike partners, as they put in a great showing against Clemson, but after another goalless game at UConn, head coach Ed Kelly has once again moved things around.

While they haven’t been scoring much, they still have been in every game thanks to solid performances from the defense. Saladin has been outstanding in net, while Tommy Gudmundsson has replaced Len Zeugner as the towering presence in back. Younes Boudadi has locked down the right back role, while Josh Forbes has also been impressive. Against Wake, the defense showed great resolve to shut down the Deacons in the second half, allowing only one off-target shot and keeping themselves in the game.

The game ended on a sour note for the defense, however, as Abe Bibas received a red card with nine seconds remaining for a hard foul, which limits the depth and may force Moro back to his usual spot.

On the bad end of the defensive spectrum, there is the five goal drubbing at the hands of UNC and a 5-3 outlier win against Albany. Other than that, BC has given up two goals four times, going 1-3 in those games, and has given up one goal or none eight times.

The problem is that BC has only picked up one win from the last five games in which they’ve conceded a goal or less.

With two games remaining, BC’s proven goalscorers of the past need to show up to keep their season alive.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

October 23, 2016