After midfielder Henos Musie ’16 struck home a tally in the first minute of Yale’s contest against Iona on Tuesday, the Elis’ prospects for their first win of the season looked bright.
But after allowing two Iona goals later in the contest, the Elis return to action this weekend still seeking to get in the victory column. Looking to bounce back from their disappointing 2–1 home loss to Iona, the men’s soccer squad will take on Fairfield University in its first away clash of the season and then travel to Rhode Island to complete its road trip.
Both Fairfield and Yale have experienced shaky starts to their seasons, setting up a Friday clash in which both teams are searching for a firm victory. Fairfield (1–1–1, 0–0–0 MAAC) has, much like the Bulldogs (0—1—1, 0—0—0 Ivy), yet to get its offense firing on all cylinders. The Stags have netted just two goals in three games this year and have survived largely on the strength of their defense, allowing only a single goal thus far. Fairfield’s stout defense is sure to pose a challenge for a Yale squad, which has struggled with creativity in the offensive third and fallen victim to ill-timed scoring droughts.
“Fairfield [is] a difficult opponent on the road,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “They are always well-organized and difficult to break down, but we have learned a lot from our first two games and will look to create more movement and scoring chances.”
Based on the teams’ strengths, one key matchup in the Fairfield contest will concern the ability of Yale’s midfield to cut down on turnovers in transition and capitalize on the counterattack in the face of Fairfield’s defensive fortitude.
A central Bulldog in the Yale offense will be midfielder Musie. He has emerged as a real scoring threat for the Bulldogs this season, notching an early goal off of a gorgeous one-two connection against Iona and looking threatening in the team’s season-opening tie with Sacred Heart. His ability to convert with his back to goal offensively could prove vital against this Fairfield defense. Standing at 6’2”, Musie will be targeted to create space for Yale’s attacking options due to his size and strength.
“The team experienced a tough loss on Tuesday and is ready to bounce back quickly and get the first win of the season,” Musie said. “I am expecting us to put in a good performance and return with three points.”
The team will face University of Rhode Island on Sunday after Fairfield on Friday. The Rams (1–2–1, 0–0–0 A10) have had a rollercoaster season early on, winning one match in an impressive fashion while getting blown out in another.
Rhode Island’s offense could prove more of a hazard to contend with for the Bulldogs. Having scored four goals in four games, the Rams have produced at a more impressive clip than Fairfield. Mike Casey, a junior striker for the Rams, has managed to produce two goals already this season on 33% shooting. Contending with a striker of this quality should prove to be a key part of the Elis defensive strategy.
With both teams coming off a loss, there is no real momentum advantage going into this match.
“I think the team is still coming together,” Henry Flugstad-Clarke ’17 said. “If we can get all the pieces on the team firing on all cylinders, I’m confident we can win.”
Yale opens up Ivy League play on Oct. 4 at Harvard.