Hopes were high Saturday night for the men’s soccer team as forward Scott Armbrust ’13 drove in a close-range shot four minutes into the first half.
Yet playing on a frigid night to a packed crowd at Reese Stadium, the Bulldogs (5–8–3, 2–4) fell 2–1 to Brown (9–2–5, 4–2) in their last home game of the season.
As in many lost contests this year, the difference between winning and losing came down to a few crucial moments.
“Every game just seems to be close, and just one or two moments are the difference between winning and losing,” captain and defender Jordan Raybould ’10 said. “We need to learn to turn those moments in our favor.”
The Bulldogs failed to create other offensive opportunities in response to Brown’s two goals.
“Our problems offensively tonight came from impatience,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “We were too hasty in how we got the ball forward. We didn’t make the most of our possession and wasted passing.”
Despite offensive troubles, Armbrust’s goal was an opportunistic one. Midfielder Andy Shorten ’11 fired the ball in from the left side of the field. After a moment of confusion in front of the goal, Armbrust, who stood positioned in the center, drove a dead-on shot into the goal past off-balance Brown goalkeeper Paul Grandstand.
“I didn’t really do anything,” Armbrust said. “Andy Shorten had a good penetrating run, and with a lot of pressure in the box, I could just put it away. It was fairly easy on my part.”
Armbrust’s goal, his sixth of the season, ties him with fellow forward Brad Rose ’11 for the most Yale goals scored this season.
Yale sustained its initial lead for the first 20 minutes, at which point Brown’s T.J. Popolizio responded with a diving header into the back post off a low cross.
“There was a mix-up with who was going to pressure the man who crossed the ball,” Tompkins said. “They got in a cross we weren’t ready to defend.”
After the first half, the Elis and Bears stood tied at 1–1. The second half remained scoreless until Brown’s Thomas McNamara scored a game-winning goal by driving a loose ball into the net late in the second half.
“Our defense was under pressure the whole game, and we weren’t getting great possessions offensively,” Raybould said. “We were under attack all the time, and it’s difficult to shut a team out or not let in a goal when you’re constantly under pressure.”
The Elis fought to respond with just a few minutes remaining in the game, but the Bear defense shattered any hopes of a comeback.
“As soon as we got the ball up top, Brown put the pressure on us, and we couldn’t really get through,” Armbrust said.
Brown outshot the Bulldogs 10–3, and had the same advantage in corner kicks.
Travis Chulick ’10, Yale’s goalkeeper, and Grandstand each successfully saved one shot.
In addition to being the last home game of the season, Saturday night’s contest was also the last home game for the five seniors on the team. Jon Carlos ’10, Chulick, Kevin Pope ’10, Raybould and Justin Song ’10 were each acknowledged for their contributions to the Yale soccer program in a ceremony with their parents before the game’s start.
“I’m going to miss playing at home and playing for Yale soccer,” Raybould said. “As the last home gone, it’s always a little emotional. It’s been a very meaningful experience for me. I’m sorry we didn’t get a different result.”
Saturday night’s loss means the Bulldogs will finish with a losing record in the Ivy League, but they will take on Princeton in Princeton, N.J., for their last game of the season Friday night at 8 p.m.