It was ugly, but they’ll take it. That was the sentiment of the St. John’s men’s soccer team after it escaped with a 2-1 win over Boston University Sunday night at Belson Stadium.
Despite playing a man up for most of the second half, the Red Storm (3-1) found themselves scrambling to
maintain their lead and had to count on four acrobatic saves by freshman
goalkeeper Rafael Diaz in the final 12 minutes to walk away with the win.
“I don’t think today was a great effort by us by any stretch of the imagination,” said head coach Dave Masur. “It was nice for us to be a little resilient on a day when we weren’t
Early in the second half, St. John’s had all the momentum and seemed ready to cruise to victory.
After BU freshman midfielder Derek McCaffery’s tackle on senior midfielder Tadeu Terra earned him a red card in
the 49th minute, the Johnnies found themselves playing a man up in a 1-1 game.
They quickly took advantage less than four minutes later when Terra
beat two defenders and BU freshman keeper Brandon Briggs for his third
goal of the season, putting the Johnnies up 2-1.
With their backs against the wall, however, the Terriers (3-1-1) roared back. They pressed their attacking third for the rest of the game after Terra’s goal, putting the pressure on the Johnnies back line.
“It just seemed like they were fired up to get that goal,” said freshman midfielder Dom Sarle. “We lost focus for a little bit in that 10-15 minute span.”
In the 60th minute, BU forward Aaron O’Neal set up midfielder Michael Bustamante at the top of the box for
a shot that was saved by Diaz. Less than a minute later, Stephen Knox put a shot on target from 30 yards out that Diaz narrowly corralled.
But it was in the 67th minute that BU had their best chance. Diaz came out of net to stop a cross, but was unable to clear the danger and left out of position. BU senior midfielder Ryan Shea found himself all alone with the ball inside the box, but his shot was cleared out by St. John’s midfielder Nick Mathews, who was covering for Diaz in net on the play.
The Terriers weren’t done, though. O’Neal’s header in the 78th minute forced Diaz to dive to his right to make the stop. In the game’s final two minutes, Bustamante peppered the net with two shots on goal, including one that Diaz barely deflected with his fingertips to keep out of the net.
Masur was not pleased, however, with the way his team closed out the match.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “They’re going to squeeze into our end and we’ve got to be able to answer that by being able to hold the ball, link back and find different combinations out of pressure. We didn’t do that.”