In a road trip to South Bend, Indiana Friday night, a snake-bitten Boston College men’s soccer team sought a win against No. 20 Notre Dame in Alumni Stadium. Yet, the Irish came out on top 1-0 in a defensive battle, handing the Eagles their third consecutive loss by a single goal, all of which have come against top-20 opponents.
From the moment the game began, both teams knew they were in for a defensive battle. Coming into Friday night, the Irish were yet to let up a single goal in the first half, and they were not about to let that streak come to an end. Eagles Head Coach Ed Kelly also led his squad out with a defensive plan, starting the game with only one forward on the pitch.
Despite the conservative formation, the Eagle’s offense attempted to put pressure on Notre Dame early, making strong pushes towards the box in the first half. However, these efforts proved fruitless, as the offense soon sputtered out and allowed Notre Dame to dominate possession for the remainder of the first half.
Although no goals were scored, the Irish appeared significantly more energetic, giving off both higher quality and a higher volume of shots. Particularly, in minute 21, Notre Dame’s Felicien Dumas took a corner and crossed it over to midfielder Thomas Ueland. Ueland had a great look from the top of the box but was unable to capitalize, as the ball soared just over the crossbar.
Nonetheless, after dominating the first half of the scoreless contest, Notre Dame was able to get one in early in the second half. After Ryan Krutz cleared the ball back to midfield, the ball was quickly secured by Notre Dame midfielder Jack Casey, who proceeded to slither his way past two BC defenders before threading the needle with his pass to Aidan McFadden. With nobody other than the goalkeeper between McFadden and the net, there was almost nothing Borrelli could do to prevent McFadden from sending the ball to the back left side of the goal.
This goal appeared too much for the Eagles to overcome, as they appeared deflated for much of the remainder of the match. Yet, they did manage to keep their physical presence throughout the rest of the game, but it oftentimes bordered on recklessness. In the final minutes, Lasse Lehmann attempted to tackle the ball away from Ueland, resulting in a red card. This red card was effectively a nail-in-the-coffin for the Eagles, allowing the Irish to play as conservatively as possible with their one-man advantage throughout the rest of the match.
The Eagles will look to right the ship next Friday at home against conference opponent North Carolina State. A win will not come easily against the Wolfpack, who are 6-2-1 this season, including a victory against No. 14 Virginia Tech earlier this month and a draw against No. 6 Louisville last night.
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