Villanova 1 St. John’s 1
For the fifth time in nine games this season, the St. John’s men’s soccer team left the field Saturday without a winner determined.
Playing in uncertain weather on the road for the second straight game, the Red Storm tied Villanova, 1-1 in their fifth double-overtime game of the season.
“We gotta show a little more toughness in some key areas,” head coach David Masur said about his team’s inability to find a golden goal.
For a while, it looked like St. John’s would not even get in position for a tie. As storm clouds loomed overhead, the Johnnies fell behind in the 26th minute when Villanova defender Ryan Whalen launched a cross to forward Mike Seamon, who lost his defender and put a shot past goalkeeper Derby Carillo in the high right corner. It was the third goal of the week for the Villanova senior.
The first half was another one of frustration for St. John’s, as they matched Villanova in shots but trailed on the scoreboard.
In the second half, Masur moved Joel Gustafsson, the Big East’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, to a forward position. However, he flatly denied changing his strategy in an effort to break his team’s scoreless streak.
“We’re not focused on streaks,” he insisted.
Having scored no goals in their last three games, the Johnnies’ outlook seemed bleak, but they stayed patient and kept on the attack. Midway through the second period, Gustafsson, playing as a forward, laid a perfect ball at the feet of midfielder Nelson Beccera that led to a Villanova foul.
Tadeu Terra took the free kick in the 64th minute from just outside of the penalty box, and put it past a six-man Villanova blockade and goalkeeper Chris Bresnahan for his second goal of the season.
The tally ended a 374 minute scoreless drought, and put the Red Storm in a position to come away with at least one point on the road.
“Tadeu gives us a tremendous amount of energy…he scored a great goal,” Masur said of the junior midfielder. Terra took six shots in the game, including two on goal.Both teams had offensive chances after Terra’s goal, but each goalkeeper was up to task. Bresnahan stoned Adam Himeno in the 72nd minute, and in the 73rd minute, Carillo denied Seamon’s bid for a multi-goal game. The two keepers each made six saves in the contest.
Junior John Tardy provided a spark off the bench for St. John’s, as the Clemson transfer played in his first game off the bench for the Red Storm and registered three shots, including one shot on goal, in 57 minutes.
The tie puts St. John’s record at 2-2-5, and 1-1-3 in the Big East.
While the team and Masur have been disappointed of their play offensively, their strong defensive play had kept them alive in the Big East’s Red division.
The Red Storm have been solid defensively, allowing only two goals in five Big East games. Their .40 goals against average is the best in the Big East. The offense is what is holding them back. Terra’s goal was just the third time they have scored in conference play.
Masur attributed the team’s offensive struggles in part to poor decision-making.
“We have to make better decisions in the attacking third of the field,” he said.
After a three game road trip, where they went 0-1-2, St. John’s will get a chance to earn a victory at home on Wednesday, when they go up against conference-rival Rutgers at Belson Stadium. The Scarlet Knights are 5-4-0 overall, with a 3-2-0 record in the Big East.
With the lowest goals against average in Big East play – just two goals allowed in five games – the Red Storm sit just four points behind Big East Red Division leader South Florida, who they play Saturday on the road.