It took Yale just under a minute to open up the scoring in a primetime clash last night against Iona College. Moments after the starting whistle sounded, Yale midfielder Henos Musie ’16 stole an errant Gaels pass and used his size and strength to advance up the field before eventually striking home a quick one-two pass from midfielder Henry Albrecht ’17.
This attacking outburst proved Yale’s last, however, as the Bulldogs fell 2–1 at Reese Stadium, blowing an early lead as the offense took its foot off the gas.
“Sometimes you can score too early,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “There are lessons to be learned here.”
Yale’s defeat was a story of missed opportunities. The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on the counterattack and were plagued with what Tompkins called “cheap giveaways.” Iona dominated the shooting battle early, with forwards Ignacio Maganto and Michael Holzer terrorizing Yale’s back four by taking advantage of any space given to launch quick strikes.
It was Maganto who ultimately brought the Gaels back into the game midway through the first half. The senior striker dashed down the left wing and carried the ball through traffic along the goal line, cutting inside to bury a shot behind Yale goalkeeper Ryan Simpson ’17 that silenced the Bulldog crowd.
This proved the first of Iona’s aggressive explosions into Yale’s defensive third.
“I thought defensively we were good. But we had a tough time containing number 10 [Maganto] and the rest of their attack,” forward Mitch Wagner ’16 said.
In the 2nd half, Yale began to respond more on offense with Albrecht leading a number of offensive forays inside the Iona box. But each attack was snuffed out due to a poorly timed pass, swift Gael defensive pressure or a giveaway.
Yale’s freshmen proved to be bright spots for the Elis in the second 45, with forward Teddy Mauze ’18 playing an integral part in a number of attacking build-ups and midfielder Josh Totte ’18 coming in to contribute some passing acumen. Despite the efforts of the Elis’ youth corps, the Gaels completed their comeback in the 64th minute when John-Luke Ferrandino buried a left footed strike inside Yale’s net. The play came about after another Bulldog giveaway. Yale turned the ball over just outside the box, and Iona’s Alex Ramos served up Ferrandino with a deftly executed back heel pass.
“I think Iona’s movement was good. They really gave us a lot of problems and exposed some things that’ll be helpful for us [to fix],” Tompkins said.
Ultimately, this ball movement contributed Yale’s end, as the pace of Iona’s midfielders often left Bulldog defenders sprinting back to stop attackers in the open field. On a number of occasions, this left the Gaels with plenty of space to launch off a shot, which they did 18 times, compared to Yale’s 4. The Elis simply could not create enough opportunities offensively, and the squad struggled to finish when it did.
“I thought we played a good team,” Musie said. “It was a good learning experience, even though we’re not happy about the result. We can improve and we’re looking forward to the next game.”
The Elis play their next match on Friday, Sep. 12 at Fairfield.