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Photo Courtesy of Boston College Men's Soccer / Twitter

BC Men's Soccer Snaps Winless Streak Against Suffolk

On October 2nd at home, the Eagles found themselves back in the win column with a 2-0 shutout against Suffolk. The win was BC’s first in six games with Jonathan Murphy tallying his third goal of the season and Augustine Boadi tallying his second. Brennan Klein recorded his fifth shutout of the season.

Murphy opened the scoring in the 17th minute, taking advantage of chaos in the Suffolk box. The play started with Sam White, driving towards the touchline, had his cross deflected out to the top of the box. Alert, Connor Gibson rushed in to pressure the Suffolk defender, getting enough of a foot on the ball to knock the ball to Murphy, who calmly cut the ball around his defender to give himself space at the top of the box. With two dribbles and another move, Murphy fired off his shot from outside the box. A Suffolk defender got his shoulder on the ball, redirecting it just enough to slip past Suffolk keeper Nathan Harlow to make the score 1-0 Eagles.

Boadi would double the lead in the 38th minute. On the left side of the field, Diego Ochoa recognized Boadi making a vertical run and fed him the ball, slipping the ball between two Suffolk defenders. Boadi took two touches, heading towards the space at the top of the box, before firing off an absolute stunner from just outside the box. The bend on the right-footed shot carried it into the far-post side netting with goalkeeper Harlow having no chance to stop the ball. Ochoa recorded an assist on Boadi’s beauty in the defenders first minutes in two games.

The Eagles' possession-heavy style of play allowed them to dictate play without Suffolk threatening and the lack of a Suffolk press granted BC time and space to evaluate their options. Despite a rotated squad, the Eagles had plenty of chemistry across the field, generating 23 shots with six being on target. Max Andrews, in his first start, helped the defense to contain Suffolk to zero total shots on the evening, making it a quiet night.

Unlike previous matches, where the two wingers were expected to do equal attacking and defending, the Eagles tried having Gibson drop back into the second center back role if either Andrews and Ochoa stepped forward, allowing the entire backline to play higher up the field. The move spread the defense wider and allowed the four midfielders to truly specialize in their attacking role while still protecting the center of the field.

Altogether, it was a cleaner game from the Eagles, building on their performance against Wake Forest. Playing physical, BC managed to balance that physicality with the game the referee was calling, avoiding accumulating more yellow cards. Perhaps more impressive was that Suffolk out fouled the Eagles 11 to five.

Still preferring short corners, the Eagles utilized White as the set piece taker for most of their 13 corner kicks. The Eagles have yet to score on a corner this season, though CJ Williams serves as the target on both short and long corners. On occasion, White sent the ball into the box without the short corner attempted overload, hoping to capitalize on the surprise and chaos.

The closest the Eagles came to scoring off a set piece this game was an Ochoa free kick in the opening minutes of the match. Taking the kick from just outside the penalty box, Ochoa’s shot attempt sailed just over the crossbar.

It was a night of theatrics for the Eagles. Alfie Hughes, towards the end of the match and in a moment of déjà vu, sent the ball wide of the net by inches and let out a yell of frustration. Hughes, head in his hands a few minutes later as another shot soared over the top of the net, represented the pure frustration Eagles forwards have felt this season. With only seven goals in 10 games, Hughes’ yell is a visceral summary of the season so far. Klein’s shrug in the dying seconds of the match after he collapsed on the ball instead of quickly throwing it to a waiting Henry Okenla had the crowd laughing but also served as another midseason summary.

The Eagles (3-4-3) returned to ACC action on Friday, October 6th at 7:00 pm against Virginia (6-3-1) at home. The game was the Eagles annual Pink Night to raise awareness for Breast Cancer.

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