Leah Temple Lang / Gavel Media

Men's Soccer Midseason Review

Nine games into the season, men’s soccer appears to be going down a path we know “All Too Well.” Winless in the last seven games, the team is looking for “Happiness” or at least a “State of Grace” in the second half of the season.

“Long Story Short,” it’s time for midseason reviews and “This is Me Trying” to keep things interesting in the midst of a compressed season where it’s easy to get tired of reading about soccer. Below is a midseason review of men’s soccer, using Taylor Swift lyrics. 

 “…Are you Ready For It?” 

#23, Stefan Sigurdarson

“Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer”

Just when you think you have Sigurdarson figured out, he finds a new way to score or slip past the defense and almost score. There is no right answer to stopping the senior (beyond the hacking most defenses opt for), and even if you can keep him from finding the back of the net, you won’t necessarily keep him off the scoresheet. Beyond the tangible numbers on the box score, Sigurdarson is also in the process of evolving his game by dropping deeper to free up speedy wingers and briefly becoming a star defender in the Northeastern game, for example. You won’t solve Sigurdarson because he’ll evolve the second you think you have the answer. 

#11, Camilo Ponce

“But I keep cruising / Can’t stop, won’t stop moving / It’s like I got this music in my mind...”

Sure, what Ponce can do on the ball—weaving between defenders, breaking ankles, and dancing his way into the box—is impressive. But, controversially, the best part of Ponce’s game is what the freshman does off the ball. Ponce creates space: checking to passes, pulling a defender out of position, dropping deep only to peel off to the wing in a J-shaped run—he never stops moving, resisting the temptation to be a static player off the ball. Whether Ponce is dancing with the ball or dancing off of it, defenders have a hard time hearing his music, making the freshman difficult to anticipate or stop.

#14, Augustine Boadi

“…they might be bigger, but we’re faster and never scared…”

If you take your eyes off of Boadi for one second, the next time you find him he will be all the way down the field, poaching the ball from a defender through sheer force of will and running down the sideline with it. Boadi snatches up balls that no one else would even try for and can weave his way through three defenders hacking at him, sometimes so effectively that referees don’t whistle the obvious obstruction. With a quick dip of the shoulder (that occasionally gets Boadi in trouble for upending the opponent), Boadi is off, facing down entire backlines without flinching.

#10, Amos Shapiro-Thompson

“But if the story’s over, why am I still writing pages?”

The answer? Because despite all of the technical skills Shapiro-Thompson possesses, his “never say die” attitude is what the Eagles need most right now. A lot of people have written the Eagles off and Shapiro-Thompson has a lot to say to each of them—you can see it in his statistics: 16 shots, one goal, one assist—but more than that, you can see it on the field in the way that the senior decides to go for it and pull the rest of the team with him. The half, the game, the season—none of it is over until Shapiro-Thompson says it is over, and once the senior figures out the timing on his shots, he’ll be calling game in more than just momentum changes. When the Eagles are down, look to Shapiro-Thompson to do some wizardry in the midfield, take a shot, and suddenly get the Eagles going. 

#22, Adrian Zenko

“‘Cause we never go out of style, we never go out of style” 

A classic six never ever goes out of style, and even when Zenko isn’t playing that position, he brings a steadiness and classic feel to the field that’s never out of Vogue. A box-to-box midfielder unafraid to take a shot from distance, the grad student plays a different style of soccer: more classic-looking, deceptively sneaky passes, a cheeky move every once and a while to get the crowd going. Zenko is also vocal, constantly communicating with his teammates on the field, talking with the referee, and noting movement on the field. You want a player like Zenko on your team because you want his style—both of play and of leadership.   

#24, Ted Cargill

“And you’ve got your demons and, darling, they all look like me”

Cargill will be in the opposing team’s nightmares—either for a shot that looked like it was going in or for a crunching tackle in the midfield that opponents will feel for at least a week. The freshman is everywhere and nowhere all at once, appearing and reappearing as the game calls for it, sometimes in the opposing team’s box and then just a split second later making a stop in the midfield. In the past two games, Cargill’s had a shot nearly score, and the freshman has placed three of his seven shots on goal. He’s also accrued four yellow cards in eight games, making him a menace. Either way, opposing teams won’t want to face Cargill when he has the ball or when he doesn’t. 

#4, Diego Ochoa

“But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time / Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time” 

Ochoa went from starting six games last season (and playing in ten) to starting all nine of the games so far, becoming a staple on defense. The sophomore has also reinvented himself into a corner kick and set piece taker who has already bent one into the back of the net. Fond of a slide tackle, Ochoa can usually be spotted rising up from the ground on the left side, having dispossessed an opposing team’s attacker of the ball (and occasionally their footing). Good at moving the ball whether on the dribble, a short pass, or a long diagonal serve to the forwards, Ochoa has plenty of facets to his game, and, only a sophomore, his evolution isn’t finished yet. 

#16, Tyshawn Rose

“Took off faster than a green light, go / Yeah, you skip the conversation when you already know”

In his fifth year at BC, Rose knows the game plan and when he sees an opportunity down the wing, he’s going to take it. Some of the Eagles' best chances this year have come from a streaking Rose on the outside of the box who manages, through a combination of speed and on-the-ball skill, to get a cross off and into the box. His feats are all the more impressive when one considers how many times per game the Eagles rely on this game plan, meaning that Rose has to routinely beat defenders who know he’s coming. Rose knows his role on the field and no one is going to be fast enough to stop him. 

#5, Victor Souza

“You had some tricks up your sleeve / Takes one to know one / You’re a cowboy like me”

Most people were probably a little surprised to see Souza spend some time in the right-back position, but the senior is full of tricks, and when he decides to dribble forward at least three midfielders will be left in his wake. Obviously known for his defense (and his positioning is impeccable), the moments that stand out this season are the ones where Souza decides not to pass back to the goalie or sidewise to another defender, but instead elects to go forward, leaving the other team scrambling. Otherwise, Souza is playing sleight of hand on the backline, convincing forwards that there’s space and then snapping up the ball before they can get a shot off. Like a cowboy, Souza’s quick on the draw, but you won’t suspect it until it’s too late.   

#12, Wil Jacques

“This is why we can’t have nice things, darling / Because you break them, I had to take them away” 

The defense has had to do some work this season, and Jacques is an example of how much the job requires taking the ball away from the other team. Deployed in several different positions on the backline as injuries and tactical changes have forced adjustments, the grad student is best known for spectacular slide tackles with no room for error. The other team can’t have nice things as Jacques strips the ball from forwards so cleanly that you almost can't believe it happened. He also serves as a pressure outlet to rebuild when the midfielders and forwards can’t see a way through the other team’s defense.

#1, Brennan Klein

“…Reputation precedes me, they told you I'm crazy / I swear I don't love the drama, it loves me…” 

There are two truths about Klein—he will make you nervous by being at midfield or running onto a ball that common sense would say is not his, and God help the forward that challenges him (see Klein’s yellow card against Louisville). Klein immerses himself in the drama of a game, choosing to dribble as a forward charges at him, celebrating the defense by doing the little things right, fighting through the chaos in the box to collect a loose ball, and he does these things with a theatrical touch that puts fans’ hearts in their throat, but, at the end of the day, Klein will make the save. Reputation precedes him, indeed. 

Conclusion

“Long story short, it was a bad time / Long story short, I survived” 

So, the record does not look great right now and no one would say the last seven games have been fun (well, Clemson was). But the Eagles still have time to turn things around and use the survival lessons gained in the first nine games of the season to finish out strong—but it all depends on their mentality going forward. There have been great games (Clemson) and games no one wants to remember (UMass) and everything in between, but for the Eagles, none of that can matter going into the last six games of the season—you just have to start winning, somehow, someway. BC can do it by embracing chaos, pressing forward, and taking chances, but it’s going to require buy-in from every player on the roster and it won’t look pretty all the time.

To put it short and sweet, this is going to be an Eagles team “that’s gonna be forever / or it’s gonna go down in flames,” and like Taylor Swift at the start of a relationship, we’re just going to have to wait and see.

All quotes are taken from the song lyrics of Taylor Swift.

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