Sports, Fall, Men's Soccer

Eagles Tie BU 2–2 in Battle of Comm. Ave.

Since 1967, Boston College and Boston University’s men’s soccer teams have engaged in an intense rivalry, and Tuesday night’s game put that rivalry on display. 

In the latest edition of the Battle of Comm. Ave., BC and BU played an impassioned, physical affair that featured 24 fouls, seven yellow cards, and four goals. While BC (2–2–3, 0–1–1 Atlantic Coast) and BU (4–2–1, 1–0 Patriot) each exchanged moments of brilliance, the teams played to a 2–2 draw, with each netting eight shots. The Eagles’ tied a season-high with four yellow cards as high emotions led to undisciplined play. 

“It’s hard when it’s a chippy game, and, you know, BU is always an intense game,” BC head coach Bob Thompson said. “I didn’t think that it was too rough—it’s just that there were a lot of 50/50 challenges that ended up with yellow cards.” 

BU almost scored in the first minute after Andrew Rent broke free on a breakaway, forcing BC goalkeeper Leon Musial to make a save. Musial made his second start of the season on Tuesday replacing Brennan Klein, who was injured in the Eagles’ game on Friday against Pittsburgh.

In the 15th minute, the Eagles had a chance when Alfie Hughes sprinted past BU’s backline and laid off a perfect pass to Marco Dos Santos. But Terrier defenders intercepted the pass to prevent any damage.

Hughes appeared to be injured in the 16th minute, forcing BC to play down a man for several minutes until he was subbed out for the remainder of the game at the 21st minute.

BC, however, struck first, as Aidan Farwell converted a penalty kick in the 22nd minute to give the Eagles a 1–0 lead. It was the Eagles’ first successful penalty shot of the season. 

But BU quickly responded, drawing a foul 20 yards out four minutes later. Quinn Matulis subsequently hit a rocket free kick past the outstretched hands of Musial to tie the game 1–1.

As the game progressed, its physicality only increased. BC’s Jonathan Murphy picked up the first yellow card of the game—and his first of the season—in the 40th minute.

The Eagles retook the lead in the 43rd minute, as Augustine Boadi blasted a shot that deflected off a Terrier defender but found its way into the net, giving BC a 2–1 lead at halftime. The shot marked Boadi’s first career goal.

“We kinda knew that this was a season where guys had to chip in and the goals were gonna be spread out amongst different players,” Thomspon said. “Getting more guys on the scoresheet to build their confidence is great”

The physicality continued in the second half, as BU earned two yellow cards within seven minutes. In total, officials handed out six yellow cards in the second half.

BU managed to strike off a miscommunication between BC’s backline and Musial, as Rent stole the ball and slid it into the empty net to tie the game at two in the 53rd minute.

The Terriers had multiple chances to take the lead, stringing together passes in BC’s box, but nothing came to fruition. BC responded with moments of intense offensive pressure, including on a corner kick opportunity in the 82nd minute. Xavier O’Neil took control of the ball off the rebound and set in a low cross that Francesco Montali snatched.

With two minutes remaining, BU appeared to have a chance at taking the lead but was called for offsides, igniting screaming from fans on the sidelines.

BC had one final chance in the closing seconds, but Montali stopped CJ Williams’ bottom center header attempt with an heroic attempt, sealing the tie as the whistle blew.

“I think the biggest positive was just that we ended the game trying to get the win and our guys were still chasing the game late,” Thompson said. “The mentality of late in the game still trying to look for the win was probably the biggest positive.”

September 20, 2023