add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );Eagles Lose 3-1 to Quinnipiac - BANG.
Photo courtesy of BC Men's Soccer / Twitter

Eagles Lose 3-1 to Quinnipiac

It's not spooky season yet, but the Eagles are cursed. BC fell 3-1 to Quinnipiac in their first away game of the season, continuing the winless away streak from last season. Jonathan Murphy scored his second goal of the season in the Monday matchup. He remains the Eagles' lone goal scorer so far this season.

The Eagles conceded first, allowing Quinnipiac to get on the board in the 14th minute, with Dario Cavada poking home a rebound to put the Bobcats up 1-0. The play started on the left side, with the Bobcats passing past the Eagles' defense with a give-and-go to enter the box. Terrance Wilder Jr. ran onto a backheel pass and smashed the ball towards the far post, forcing Eagles' goalkeeper Leon Musial to make a diving save, punching the ball away. Unfortunately, the rebound landed right in front of Cavada, who was continuing his run. The Bobcat midfielder made no mistake with his shot, sending it past a recovering Musial on the near post side.

Quinnipiac doubled the lead in the 35th minute. With another left-side sprint, the Bobcats managed to drag the Eagle's defense out of position, leaving Francisco Ferreira open at the top of the Eagles' box. Cavada laid the pass off perfectly, cutting the ball back to Ferreira, who took two touches to drive deeper into the box before rifling home a near post shot as two Eagles collapsed in on him.

Not to be outdone entirely, BC pulled a goal back in the second half. Diego Ochoa took a couple of touches on the ball, surging towards the Bobcats' box before sending one of his signature cross-pitch passes to the waiting Xavier O'Neil on the right side. O'Neil used his fancy footwork to get past the initial Quinnipiac defender, pulling back and dropping to the touchline to give himself space to slot a low cross across the mouth of the goal. Waiting at the far post was Murphy, who stepped to the ball and tapped it into the upper net to cut the lead in half. O'Neil's assist is his first collegiate point.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, bad things came in groups of three, and Quinnipiac added their third goal in the 58th minute, stopping BC's momentum in its tracks. As if to say anything you can do, we can do better, the Bobcat's third goal came on a long ball over the top that switched fields. All Tomas Svecula had to do was redirect the ball back toward the top of the box, where Brage Aasen, finishing his run, swept the ball into the near post to make the score 3-1.

It was a tough night for the Eagles defensively, with players not completing their recovery runs or staying with their mark through the end of a sequence. Quinnipiac's pace, combined with accurate passing, exposed the seams of a relatively young BC defense that relies on wingers tracking back and doing equal offensive and defensive work. While each line functioned well for BC, the Bobcats were experts at exploiting space between them, demonstrating BC's vulnerability in the center.

Ball movement was also a rough area for the Eagles. The defense could hold possession and usually completed the first pass, but BC struggled to carry the ball up the field in the small passing triangles the team favored. There were large stretches where the middle of the field sat completely empty, waiting for an Eagle to take the ball and drive deep, but rarely did anyone forgo a triangle sequence wide to exploit the middle. It felt, for long stretches of the game like the Eagles were set up in a U-shaped formation, prone to switching fields but only by routing the ball all the way back to the defense.

This isn't to say that there weren't bright spots. Freshman Marco dos Santos poured his heart into the match, constantly tracking back on defense and trying to force the ball forward. Anywhere you looked on the pitch, there was a chance that dos Santos was there, making a play on the ball. The double substitution of Sam White and Connor Gibson, with Aidan Farwell up in the attacking midfield role, immediately stabilized the midfield, with White and Gibson carrying the ball forward. With those three on the field, the Eagles attacked higher up and saw more movement in the center of the field instead of relying solely on the wingers.