UMBC Men's Soccer Falls to Boston U on National Television
UMBC Men's soccer Homecoming game featured on Fox Soccer Channel is ruined by America East Conference leader Boston University as the Retrievers lose 2-0 in front of 2,781 fans at UMBC Stadium.
As the UMBC men's soccer trotted out to the field on a windy Friday night at UMBC Stadium, they had all elements of having a superb home field advantage. A homecoming game in front of a national TV audience along with a record breaking attendance of 2,781 fans which is the largest crowd to watch a UMBC men's soccer game in the school's history.
Even with all of the energy and attention being focused on the Retrievers, it wasn't enough to knock off Boston University (9-3-1, 4-0-0), as UMBC (6-4-3-, 1-1-2) lost their first America East Conference match of the season, 2-0.
"We are disappointed in the result, a tremendous night, it is a night in my 20 years here it is a great accomplishment to have a game on national television," said UMBC men's soccer coach Pete Caringi, Jr.
"The crowd was great, a record crowd and you can't be more proud of the players and the school," he said.
"It was a lot of nerves going through," said senior captain Chris Williams. "I just think we had to capitalize on a few goals but it was nice to play in front of the nation."
At the start of the game, UMBC seemed to feed off of the energy given off by the UMBC fans as the controlled the momentum early in the game. Senior forward Levi Houapeu and junior midfielder Andrew Bulls got their touches early in the game.
Unfortunately, when Bulls and Houapeu got possession, they were able to convert their chances into goals. One of those chances came at the 11-minute mark when Houapeu drew three Terriers defenders and fed the ball to Bulls who was uncovered from fifteen yards out. Bulls was unable to cash in from the pass from the nation's leading scorer, as Bulls shot the ball squarely into the chest of Boston U.'s Brandon Briggs.
The Terriers showed why they are the top in the conference as they were able to battle back and create some scoring chances of their own. Junior goalie Dan Louisignau stopped one of those scoring chances as he had a diving punch out save to keep the game tied 0-0 with 22 minutes left in the first half. Louisignau's heroics would be short lived as the Terriers' Stephen Knox found fellow teammate Ben Havey darting through the UMBC defense and drilled the past the UMBC goalkeeper to give Boston U. a 1-0 lead that held for the first half.
"We [UMBC] had four games in nine days and I really think it took its toll on us," Caringi said.
As UMBC tried to regroup and swing things back in their favor in the second half, Boston U. quickly ended those hopes. One minute and 26 seconds into the second half Havey struck again as he dished out a assist to Ryan Shea who wedged his way between two UMBC defenders and blasted a shot pass a diving Louisignau which silenced the home crowd.
Up 2-0, the Terriers turned their attention to shutting down the UMBC offensively by focusing solely on Houapeu. The Terrier defense blanketed Houapeu as he saw at least three red shirts ever time he touched the ball.
"Levi [Houapeu] was being marked, they [Boston U.] was very well aware of him and where he was on the field," Caringi said. "Boston has a lot of good players and they are not going to give Levi chances that other teams might. He is one the leading scorers in the country and whenever he plays he is a marked man."
Freshman Pete Caringi III had UMBC's best opportunity to score when Briggs was out of position. Caringi's shot that was denied by team save lead by Boston U's Michael Bustamante, broke a 55 minute drought in which UMBC didn't get off a single shot on goal.
The Retrievers will play their final out-of-conference game of the season as they travel to play Penn State on Oct. 20. After the game with the PSU, UMBC will finish out their regular season schedule by playing three AEC opponents of which two of those games will be at home. The Retrievers feel confident about their chances to make the conference tournament.
"I think we are top tier, it's a very tight conference and it's going to come down to the last couple of games in the season," Caringi said. "I still think we need to qualify because this is a wide open conference and whoever gets hot at the end can win it."
"They [Boston U.] are very good team, we just got unlucky and hopefully we see them again in the conference tournament," said Williams.