For Boston College men’s soccer, scoring goals has been a big issue all season. Coming into Friday’s matinee matchup against No. 10 Wake Forest, BC had tallied just five goals all season, good for 0.63 goals per match.
Those offensive struggles continued against the Demon Deacons Friday afternoon.
In a rain-soaked affair, BC (2–4–3, 0–3–1 Atlantic Coast) fell to ACC powerhouse Wake Forest (7–1–3, 2–1–1) by a score of 1–0 at the Newton Soccer Complex. The Demon Deacons controlled play throughout and had many opportunities to tack onto their lead, and BC was blanked for the fifth time this season.
“The results are frustrating right now, but I think the positive is similar to when we played Pitt here at home,” BC head coach Bob Thompson said. “This team was a top-10 team in the country and this game felt neck and neck, so how close we are with the top-10 teams, that can be a positive.”
The Demon Deacons dominated play early, using their high press to force errors from BC’s back line. Wake Forest sufficiently outplayed the Eagles and had some immediate scoring chances.
In the fifth minute, Sidney Paris received a pass near the top-right corner of the 18-yard box off a corner before whipping a lofted ball toward the penalty spot. Roald Mitchell elevated and connected on a header that barely got a piece of BC goalkeeper Brennan Klein’s outstretched hand before clanking off the crossbar, keeping the score at 0–0.
“I think the high press in the first half from them we struggled against a little bit,” Thompson said. “I think it took us until the second half to kind of sort that out.”
The Demon Deacons maintained their relentless pressure and broke the scoreless tie in the ninth minute. Jahlane Forbes chased down a ball from Paris on the left flank, and the senior slotted a pass through the box to the feet of Cooper Flax, who calmly deposited the ball into the bottom-right corner. BC defender Moritz Gundelach whiffed on a tackle attempt, leading to the goal.
“I think our whole group just didn’t transition back well enough,” Thompson said of Flax’s goal. “It took us too long to wake up I think.”
BC had minimal chances and struggled mightily to work the ball into the attacking third. The Eagles seemed tentative on the ball, and Wake Forest kept them on their heels. One of the lone notable chances for BC came in the 43rd minute.
The Eagles drew a free kick just outside the box in the right corner, and Ted Cargill hit a solid ball toward Wake Forest’s goalkeeper, Trace Alphin. The Demon Deacons’ alert back line thwarted the attempt.
Wake Forest nearly doubled its lead in the 51st minute when a through ball from Flax found Leo Guarino, who evaded BC center back CJ Williams before having two point-blank scoring chances. With just the goalkeeper to beat, Guarino blasted a shot from about 10 yards out, and Klein made a huge save. Klein stopped Guarino’s rebound attempt.
“They’re just a top team with a lot of talent,” Thompson said. “I think they found their striker’s feet too much. I think that tactically probably offensively was the biggest struggle for us.”
Mitchell had a pair of prime chances in the second half, and the Demon Deacons continued to control play throughout. BC never truly tested Alphin, and the margin of defeat could have easily been more.
“They kept finding [Mitchell’s] feet,” Thompson said. “He’s a top talent, one of the best strikers in the country, and that caused a lot of issues.”
Augustine Boadi was one of the few Eagles to somewhat solve Wake Forest’s defense. The speedy sophomore had multiple high-quality looks at the goal and finished the game with a team-high two shots.