Photo courtesy of BC Men's Soccer / Twitter

Men's Soccer Ties Siena 1-1

The weather matched the mood after the Eagle’s 1-1 tie to Siena on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 6—gloomy, sad, and with a lot left on the pitch. Despite BC’s best effort in the last twenty minutes, Siena hung on for the tie. This meant that in a game where both teams played the same formation, neither could gain the upper hand. Stefan Sigurdarson scored for BC, while Antonio Linge knotted it for Siena.

The Sigurdarson goal came in the 36th minute, off a beautiful ball from Augustine Boadi on the left side. Boadi allowed Sigurdarson to flick it into the right corner, past a diving Siena goalkeeper Greg Monroe. It was Sigurdarson’s fifth goal of the season, while Boadi’s assist gave the freshman his first collegiate point. The forward benefitted from being the focal point of the attack, with Boadi, Camilo Ponce, and Amos Shapiro-Thompson all providing excellent service into the box, and Sigurdarson’s skills in the air and on the ground doing the rest.

Linge’s goal came on Siena’s first shot of the game, with a clearance attempt falling to the feet of the Siena defender who took a touch to bring the ball down and then rifled a shot off his left foot across the face of the goal until rippling the side netting to make the score 1-1. The shot would be the only one on the net all night for Siena, with two others registering as shots, but neither was on goal. 

Shapiro-Thompson’s last twenty minutes was a masterclass in captaincy, with the midfielder wreaking havoc on the right side and nearly scoring twice, forcing Siena keeper Monroe to make a save. The captain’s energy, technical skill, and desire to win pulled the team with him, adding urgency to the attack and demonstrating needed skills for the Eagles to win going forward. The captain also earned himself a yellow card for a foul inside the Siena box and then strenuously arguing the call, showing the balancing act players walk in using their passion.   

Sam White also proved a good addition in a midfield that has regularly seen tinkering from head coach Bob Thompson. White earned the start after a strong performance in the second half against UMass, and his impact was felt both in terms of on-the-field skill and also in creating the sense of urgency that the Eagles seem to lack for key stretches of games.

A tie isn’t the end of the world and the last twenty minutes provide hope for Eagles fans. The team has speed in several positions and chemistry is starting to show, especially when Boadi and Shapiro-Thompson share the same wing as both plays off the speed of the other and individually can see the field well. Victor Souza and Wil Jacques, as well as CJ Williams, also cover each other well, allowing Souza to play further up the right wing, while also knowing when to force a play on a ball.

Diego Ochoa nearly made a goal happen early on, off a free kick that just missed over the crossbar. With Ochoa and Adrian Zenko taking set pieces, the Eagles look dangerous and have options, a notable difference from the last year. Both Zenko and Ochoa are capable of providing service, or taking a shot from distance, leaving the defense guessing until the whistle.

It’s clear the Eagles have individual talent and that there are moments when that talent merges with chemistry to create chances—which is what the Eagles' new formation is all about: holding possession and using the width of the field. But four games in, more names than Sigurdarson need to appear on the box score and there needs to be widespread buy-in even when things aren’t working out.

As the clock ticked down at the end of the first, the Eagles were awarded a free kick in a semi-dangerous position…instead of taking the kick quickly, creating chaos, and trying to score one more, BC elected to let the time run out. There were also several points in the second where instead of a diagonal ball through the middle, BC passed back, content to switch the field and wait, rather than pressing for a second goal. There’s always an opportunity cost to possession: against Siena it was a tie instead of a win. 

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