On Monday night, the Stony Brook men’s soccer team faced off against the Sacred Heart Pioneers in what was a rough match for both sides, as it ended in a scoreless draw after overtime.
“I think we had some chances, we could have done a little bit better with some of those and maybe we would have gotten one on the board,” head coach Ryan Anatol said after the game. “But, overall, I don’t think in the final third we caused enough problems, we weren’t creative enough and at times a little bit too direct.”
The Seawolves’ counterattack and long balls were shut down by Sacred Heart’s defense, and Stony Brook was unable to adjust to create positive possession. The game resembled a foosball game more than a soccer match, with the ball bouncing around in the center portion for most of the contest.
The first half did not feature great soccer on either side. Both teams had countless moves breaking down in the attacking third. The Seawolves managed to come out ahead on the possession battle, but failed to be positive with possession by creating into quality chances or goals. Senior midfielder Alejandro Fritz’s absence due to injury may have hurt its cohesiveness, but even when he was able to come on, the team failed to make much of an offensive impact.
Both sides looked like they were severely lacking in chemistry. Stony Brook was able to get two shots on net, while Sacred Heart notched three. However, none of these shots required any excessive acrobatics from either keepers, who had a very mundane first half. The closest either team came to breaking through was near the half hour mark, where a dangerous cross by Stony Brook senior midfielder Martin Giordano towards sophomore forward Vince Erdei could have easily ended in a penalty, but the referees waved play on.
The second half was a bit more exciting, but most chances came as a result of player fatigue as opposed to good play. Both teams were only able to generate three shots on goal each, and again neither goalkeeper went through much trouble to save them. Too many passes were sent wayward, and Sacred Heart’s physicality gave the Seawolves fits. However, both teams lacked success in build-up play. Sacred Heart’s best chance came off a rebounded corner kick, while Stony Brook’s came from sophomore Akeem Morris using his pace to exploit a tired Pioneer back line that ended with a near miss wide. The game almost came to an end at the last minute, when a beautiful long ball by Seawolves junior goalkeeper Jason Orban found Giordano wide open in front of the net and just a bit offside.
The overtime period was mostly uneventful. Stony Brook devolved quickly into hoofing long balls up the field, and neither team was able to notch even a shot on goal in the two ten-minute periods.
“I thought they did a good job trying to take away transition, so when that happens we got to play and be a little bit more creative and look for more options,” Anatol said.
The Seawolves face a tough challenge in their next match on Sept. 4, when they face off against nationally-ranked Louisville in Kentucky.