Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Possession issues cost UMass men’s soccer in 1-0 loss to Fordham

The Minutemen only registered two shots on goal
Mehroz Kapadia

The goal drought continues for the Massachusetts men’s soccer team, as it fell 1-0 at home to Fordham.

The Minutemen (4-8-0, 0-4-0 Atlantic 10) had several opportunities to hit the back of the net, registering seven shots total, but failed to capitalize on those chances.

“I felt we were on our back foot early and it cost us the game,” coach Fran O’Leary said. “I thought they beat us to everything in the first 15-20 minutes. It took a set-piece but you have to say that for a game as important as this we have to come out with more energy at the outset.”

As O’Leary alluded to, it was a set-piece that put UMass down early. In the 12th minute, the Minutemen committed a foul just outside of the box, straight on from the goal. Rams (4-8-1, 3-1-0 A-10) midfielder Sameer Fathazada stepped up and drilled the ball to the top right corner, just out of the reach of UMass goalkeeper Marvyn Dorchin.

That free kick was the only goal scored in what was a very back-and-forth game largely dominated by Fordham. The Rams were able to use their technical ability to keep the vast majority of possession time.

“You just have to try and deny them the ball,” O’Leary said. “There are a lot of times where there are dead balls, where the keeper is kicking it and the other keeper is kicking it. Their technical ability doesn’t come in on first or second balls and that’s something we’re usually very good at denying, but they dominated the first and second balls today, so that allowed them to get control of possession and allowed them to show their strength.”

UMass struggled to get to the ball in the final third but struggled even more to create a shot opportunity. Even Brenner’s shot came on a couple of deflections that fell right to him.

“There were a lot of balls that went into their box,” O’Leary said. “We were unfortunate at times but we competed vigorously inside the penalty area. We were strong in there today.”

The goal drought continued for the Minutemen, who weren’t really able to get any real chances outside of a pair of shots from Graham Brenner and Harrison Tognela. With Chandler O’Dwyer and Eli Cronin’s playing time limited, the Minutemen struggled to advance the ball from the midfield to the final third.

“I think it’s just a little bit of quality and a little bit of composure,” O’Leary said. “Some of our quality and some of our composure is out injured right now. Nobody deliberately misses a shot. Guys are working hard to get into positions and once they start converting on them their confidence will grow.”

Injuries have been the biggest story for the Minutemen all season. The injury bug also bit them in this game as Logan Brown was subbed off late with a head injury, Tyler Mann was subbed off with a leg injury and Eric Eberl was substituted in and out with a head laceration. Injuries have decimated the Minutemen and the constant flux of players having to come in and out showed in the loss.

“We try to make sure everyone is focused at practice and know where they need to be on the field,” defender Shawn Allien said. “That way, it’s next man up so if something happens, someone is always ready to hop in and contribute. Everyone has a role on this team.”

Javier Melo can be reached at [email protected], followed on Twitter @JMeloSports.

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