Men’s Soccer: Offensive struggles continue in overtime

Men’s Soccer: Offensive struggles continue in overtime

By Matt Nielsen

The Northeastern men’s soccer team (2-3-1) continued to struggle offensively this weekend, dropping a 4-0 decision to Harvard (3-1-0) Friday night, but may have turned the corner, tying Rhode Island (1-2-2) 1-1 after two overtimes Sunday afternoon. The Huskies spent the weekend close to home, playing both teams in the Harvard Invitational Tournament.

Harvard pressured the Huskies’ defense from the outset of Friday’s game, giving Northeastern little opportunity to put together any kind of offensive threat. The Crimson scored the eventual go-ahead goal at 26:31 on a shot by freshman midfielder Desmond Mitchell. The Huskies fended off a few more scoring attempts, and went to halftime down 1-0.

The second half started similarly, with Harvard coming out firing. At 57:47, sophomore midfielder Michael Fucito broke the game open, scoring his third goal of the year. He followed up with his fourth goal less than 10 minutes later. The Crimson’s underclassmen continued to power the offense, with freshman forward Kwaku Nyamekye icing the game in the 77th minute to make it 4-0.

“We didn’t have enough hunger for the ball,” said freshman defenseman Brendan Ennis. “We didn’t show any intensity.”

Harvard dominated the game offensively, out-shooting Northeastern 18-5. Sunday’s loss marked the third straight game in which the Huskies were held scoreless. According to head coach Brian Ainscough, part of the problem is that Northeastern has no real scoring threat. “We don’t have a true goal-scorer,” Ainscough said. “Greg [Kilkenny] was the center of our offense last year, so our opponents have zeroed in on him. We’re snake-bitten.”

Northeastern began Sunday’s game against Rhode Island in the same offensive funk, failing to put a shot on goal in the first half. Rhode Island also played the first half without a shot on goal and appeared to be searching for an offensive identity.

The game remained scoreless until 64:02, when the Rams junior forward Lukasz Tumicz scored on a free kick by junior midfielder Geoff Cameron. Northeastern was out-shot again in this match, 25-8 and 8-2 on goal. However, the Huskies made their shots count, scoring the game-tying goal in the 71st minute.

Sophomore midfielder Kyle Nasman collected a rebound up close and scored on the Rams’ freshman goalkeeper, Chris Pennock.

Both teams struggled to find the net for the rest of the game, and after two hard-fought overtime periods, the game came to an end at a 1-1 draw.

Northeastern freshman goalkeeper Mahmoud Talaat played another solid game, recording seven saves.

“We didn’t have a very good game on Friday and we didn’t compete.” Talaat said. “But we competed [Sunday] in a close game and got the tie.”

Talaat wasn’t the only one to emphasize that game was an improved effort. Ainscough also saw an improved effort Sunday.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Ainscough said. “The main problem on Friday was a lack of effort. [On Sunday] there was a lot of effort and battling, so that’s something to take away from [the draw].”

The Huskies were 0-1-1 during the tournament. But Northeastern freshmen Brendan Ennis and Lars Okland received All-Tournament honors.

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