On the first cold night in New Haven, the men’s soccer team was able to freeze out visiting Army.
Yale defeated the Black Knights 1-0 last night at Reese Stadium for its first win in three games and recorded its third consecutive shutout. The Elis improved on many of their problem areas on offense and added an exclamation point to an already stellar defensive line.
The Bulldogs had a good rhythm going in the first half and were able to move the ball with ease, especially through the midfield. The three first-time starters — midfielders Andy Shorten ’11, Dale Peterson ’11 and Sebastian Serra ’11 — were key in transitioning up the field.
The Elis pushed through their opponents’ defense for the first time in three games but did not capitalize on all of their 14 shots. Defender Alex Guzinski ’09 perfectly placed a direct kick from just outside the box into the top far right corner to give Yale its fifth goal of the season. With the shot, Guzinski earned his third career goal.
“It was kind of a relief,” he said. “Something has been falling into place.”
But the 1-0 score became a huge disappointment, given the numerous opportunities to extend its lead that the team squandered. Squad members said they had not been coming together as a team previously, but cohesion was not the issue yesterday — the offense suffered from poor technique. With about five minutes remaining in the opening half, forward Aden Farina-Henry ’11 broke through the tough Army defense and took an open shot at the net, but Black Knight goalkeeper A.J. Glubzinski deflected the dead-on shot.
The Elis were plagued by misplaced, late and blocked shots all night and lost many scoring chances. But the home team executed its game plan to a tee and took advantage of Army’s style of play, Yale head coach Brian Tompkins said.
“The game plan was to get open, pass and move,” he said. “That’s what they did. But this was a game I thought we should have scored two or three more goals.”
The Black Knights took control in the second half and began to put constant pressure on the Elis. Army forward Chase Hunter was the biggest obstacle for the Bulldog defense, with seven opportunities on goal and constant presence inside the box.
Army’s potent offense wreaked havoc in front of the goal and moved the ball through packs of Eli defenders. But the visitors had trouble getting the ball through and did not take many direct shots. Captain and goalkeeper Erik Geiger ’08 only had to make six saves, as Eli defenders blocked most of Army’s attempts at goal.
Geiger touted the defensive effort against the persistent Black Knight forwards.
“[Army] was able to sustain a high level of pressure,” Geiger said. “But someone was stopping them. The defense was really good tonight.”
As the clock wound down, the two evenly matched teams increased the intensity of play. Three yellow cards were issued — two to Army — and defender Frank Piasta ’09 got hit in the first half; he returned in the second with a few stitches on his head. Black Knight keeper John-Michael Gallogly was issued one of the yellow cards for plowing through forward Brad Rose ’11 on a breakaway about 30 yards out.
Rose, who did not play against Dartmouth because he was out of town, was the most effective player on offense for the Elis, launching four shots. Tompkins said execution, small errors and timing kept the Elis from burying Army further.
“Scoring early opened up the game and allowed us to move the ball and create more space,” Rose said. “We passed a lot better today.”