UMass men’s soccer suffers a 5-1 defeat on the road to No. 10 Pittsburgh

Pitt outscores the Minutemen 4-0 in the second half

Mehroz+Kapadia+%2F+Daily+Collegian

Mehroz Kapadia / Daily Collegian

By Frederick Hanna III, Assistant Sports Editor

No. 10 Pittsburgh showed no mercy in its 5-1 beat down of the Massachusetts men’s soccer team in Monday’s contest between the two teams. UMass’ (8-4-4, 2-2-3 Atlantic 10) unbeaten streak of four games was snapped on the road by the Panthers.

After the first half, the Minutemen saw themselves right in the thick of the action with Pittsburgh. The score was level at one goal apiece, yet it felt as if the Panthers (9-4-1, 4-2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) hadn’t unleashed their full potential yet. UMass was dealing with constant pressure on the ball in the opening half and Pittsburgh was proving why it had been so successful this season. The Panthers outscored the Minutemen 4-0 by the end of the second half.

“Obviously disappointed with the result,” UMass coach Fran O’Leary said. “I think we came up against one of the best college teams I’ve seen. They are a terrific team. We were in it at halftime and then it wasn’t that [Pittsburgh] broke us down, but it was instead two terrific strikes from long range by them. Disappointed and we put in a good effort, but they are just a level above [us]. Our guys competed bravely.”

The lone goal for UMass came by the strike of Yosuke Hanya in the 24th minute. The forward timed a beautiful run up the pitch into Pittsburgh’s own half and played the shot off a long ball from UMass’ half. Hanya maintained the ball and dribbled into the box with just the Panthers goalkeeper and one defender to beat. Hanya cut back to his right inside the box and struck the ball with some force into the back of the net for the goal.

Hanya’s goal leveled the game up at one and brought some needed confidence for the Minutemen who were playing on their back foot throughout most of the first half.

“It was a terrific goal,” O’Leary said. “It was good, we rebounded well after going down early. We held our composure and were delighted for a bit with the goal.”

UMass’ typical stars on the pitch went cold against a dominant and defensively sound Pittsburgh team. Filippo Begliardi Ghidini and Alec Hughes, two of the Minutemen’s leading attackers on the pitch, combined for two shots and neither of those were on goal. The only player to finish with more than one shot in the game was forward James McPherson in his 11 minutes of action in the game.

Pittsburgh outshot the Minutemen 18-6 and dominated the whole game from the start. UMass struggled to even get out of its own half and create any real threat. The Panthers were playing with a lot of fluidity and working both of the flanks in creating shots into the box along with drawing corner kicks. Pittsburgh tallied 11 corners in the game compared to UMass who finished with two.

The wide margin of victory on the scoresheet for Pittsburgh represented its No. 10 ranking well yet a close first half between the two sides displayed a strong fight to start the game from the  Minutemen. The Panthers scored some first-class goals in the second half that not many goalkeepers and defenders could stop.

“Everything was pretty much identical [in the second half],” O’Leary said. “Goals two, three and four were all cracking shots [for Pittsburgh]. When you are playing against a top team like that you are hoping [those shots] will go wide [of the net]. One thing is [those good teams] will open you up and they’ll score in front of the goal. But when [Pittsburgh] shoots from 20-25 yards and they are hitting the corner of the net, you know it’s their night.”

The Minutemen currently sit in seventh place in the A-10 standings, with the top eight advancing to the A-10 Tournament. They next take on VCU at home on Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m.

Frederick Hanna III can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @FrederickHIII.