Stuck in a rut

The New England weather was cool and rainy, and several players had trouble maintaining their balance on Glay Field’s slippery grass.

As a result, the St. John’s men’s soccer team had trouble, literally and figuratively, finding its footing at Providence on Sunday afternoon, settling for a 0-0 tie with the Friars.

Don’t tell that to head
coach Dave Masur.

The coach placed the underwhelming result squarely on the teams on the field, not the
field itself.

“The weather made for a nice game; the ball moved well. It was an excellently played match,” said Masur.

While the weather may not be to blame for the result, it clearly made an impact on both teams. Hard cuts were made tougher by the conditions of the field, and the area around both goals
suffered severe degradation.

Sometimes, like with Sverre Wegge Gundhus in the 27th minute, the slippery field led to opportunities. Gundhus made a move on his defender on the right side of the field that caused him to slip. Gundhus was then able to make a cross for a
scoring chance.

Other times, the conditions caused players to slip while on offense, ending any threats that might have been.

Masur, however, said his biggest concern is the Red Storm’s offense, whiich was shutout for the third game in a row and for the fourth time in the last five games.

“We gotta have more energy in the attacking third,” he said.
Junior Tadeu Terra shared in his coach’s frustration
“It’s a definite problem that we can’t score goals,” said the midfielder. But Terra also tried to put a positive spin on the team’s recent play. “We’re defending well,” he said. “We’ve only been scored on three times in eight games.”

His coach did not share in his optimism. Asked if he was satisfied with his team’s play defensively, Masur replied, “Not so much… They got a couple chances on service that we have to be better with.”

After an uneventful first half, Providence controlled the pace in the second half, outshooting the Johnnies 9-4 and spending much of the half on St. John’s side of the field. While senior goalie Derby Carillo only needed to make two saves in
recording his fifth shutout of the season, that stat did not reflect how often the ball was in penalty area.

Masur was especially impressed with the play of Friar
senior forward Timothy Ritter, the Friars’ leading scorer.
“(Ritter) had a little bit of the game. I think he got balls across the box,” he said.

Ritter’s header in the second overtime left Carillo frozen. He could only watch and urge the ball wide. It was so close that the Providence bench started celebrating in anticipation of a golden goal.

Ritter did not think as highly of his play as Masur did, booting a ball high in the air in frustration after the final horn sounded.

St. John’s own frustration was evident late in the second half, when an after-the-whistle scuffle led to yellow cards being issued to senior defender Joel Gustafsson and senior midfielder Nelson Becerra.

Terra had a simple solution to the frustrations. “We’ve got to keep our heads up and keep working – change a few things to make things go our way.”