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

UMass men’s soccer loses to Brown 3-1

Sefunmi Taiwo scores UMass’ only goal off penalty kick
Kayla Wong
Daily Collegian (2023)

In its first road game of the season, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team lost against Brown in Providence on Friday night. UMass (1-1-1) had many opportunities throughout the game to get points against the Bears (1-0-0) but couldn’t get the offense going in the 3-1 loss.

It was a physical game from the get-go with both goalkeepers forced to make saves early on. Brown took a 1-0 lead into halftime but scored two quick goals in the span of three minutes in the 56th and 58th minute to take a 3-0 lead, putting the game out of reach.

“We’re disappointed,” head coach Fran O’Leary said. “I thought we were very good between the two penalty boxes, but games are lost in the penalty area and we gifted them goals in our defensive penalty area and we missed several opportunities in our attacking penalty area. What was a very good performance was wasted because we lost the boxes.”

Alec Hughes was aggressive and dangerous for the Minutemen, attempting four total shots, tied for most on the team with Matt Cence. In the 10th minute, Hughes had a tremendous opportunity to open the scoring for UMass with a free kick from Nick Zielonka that was headed down near the goal. The shot, however, was saved by Brown goalkeeper Henrik Weiper for his first save of the night. In the 17th minute, Hughes had a wide-open shot at a goal but missed just wide-right.

Just after halftime, Hughes had a breakaway and another good look at the net, but his shot went wide-right of the goal. Hughes and the Minutemen had several great chances to get on the scoreboard but struggled despite 18 total shots and six shots on goal.

“There were good opportunities, we just didn’t take them tonight,” O’Leary said. “It’s rare where we live a day where we both give away goals and we don’t score goals…I thought that the chances we created were good, good chances, and we uncharacteristically missed them.”

The Bears got on the board first in the 24th minute after Kojo Dadzie shot a rocket from a difficult angle past UMass goalkeeper Matt Zambetti into the top right corner of the net.

During the game, Matt Fordham, one of the Minutemen’s starting defenders went down with an injury and would miss the remainder of the game, dealing a blow to the UMass defensive unit. Pierre de la Croix-Vaubois came in to replace Fordham and played 66 minutes in the match at defender.

The three-minute stretch from the 56th to the 58th minute proved to be backbreaking for UMass. Brown’s Dadzie scored his second goal of the game in the 56th minute, stealing the ball from Brad Moccio and rolling it by the bottom of the left post past Zambetti. Later, in the 58th minute, Brown took complete control of the game with a goal scored by Heechan Han. The goal came off a set piece by the Bears, with an initial shot by Tanner Barry being saved by Zambetti before Han put in the goal on the rebound action.

“Eliminate giving away soft goals,” O’Leary said of possible improvements to the defense. “We come off a clean sheet, it’s uncharacteristic and the expectation here is that we make teams earn their goals and I thought tonight we gifted them soft goals.”

In the late stages of the game, with the game out of hand, the Minutemen received a penalty shot after Weiper hit Sefunmi Taiwo on a shot inside the box. Taiwo’s goal in the 86th minute was the only goal of the night for UMass.

The Minutemen return to Rudd field on Monday, Sept. 4, facing Yale. Kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Marco Lopez can be reached at [email protected].

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