Riding a disappointing three-game losing streak, the Yale men’s soccer team returns home this weekend in search of its first win of the young season.
The Elis (0–3–1, 0–0–0 Ivy) will look to build some momentum this weekend when they host Manhattan College (1–2–0, 0–0–0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) and Central Connecticut State University (2–2–0, 0–0–0 Northeast Conference) at Reese Stadium. Yale had many chances last weekend, but was shut out in both of its losses, as the Elis were unable to convert chances into goals. With that in mind, head coach Brian Tompkins has adjusted his team’s training regimen going into this weekend’s games.
“The focus in this week’s training has been on sharpening our play in and around the penalty area so that we can capitalize on our goal-scoring opportunities,” Tompkins said. “The mentality and focus of our group has been terrific and they are keen to do well so I expect a good performance from them.”
Having never played Manhattan, the Elis are certainly bound to see new looks from their opponent and with Manhattan coming off of a 3–1 loss to Fordham itself, both sides will be itching to avoid another defeat. The Jaspers will look to kick their productive offense into high gear against a stout Bulldog defense that has allowed an average of just 1.25 goals per game this season. The Jaspers have scored three goals in their three games thus far, with Daniel Laguna Kennedy and Eugene Heerschap doing most of the damage for Manhattan, combining for 12 shots and two goals over a three-game stretch.
Having drawn blanks in their past two games, the Elis will also look to right the ship offensively and finally capitalize on their chances in the opposing third.
“Our game against Manhattan this Friday is a big must win for us, forward Cameron Kirdzik ’17 said. “Having an obviously sluggish start to the season, winning this home game is huge to regain our confidence and to put us back on track. We have amended a few things, including changing our formation, which will be critical to our success on Friday.”
In Sunday’s game, CCSU is a clear-cut favorite going into the showdown with Yale. The Blue Devils are 2–2, having won their last game against Massachusetts-Lowell. Furthermore, CCSU has already taken on a formidable Ivy League opponent this year, narrowly losing a 4–3 nail-biter against defending Ivy champion Penn. Having been picked to finish first in the NEC in the conference’s preseason coaches’ poll, the Blue Devils will prove a formidable foe for a struggling Yale squad. Most pressingly for the Elis, the CCSU offense has been a force to be reckoned with in its opening four games, averaging 1.5 goals per game against some stout non-conference competition.
“For the moment, we are all focused on Manhattan this Friday and taking the season one game at a time,” defender Henry Flugstad-Clarke ’17 said. “[The game against Manhattan] should be a good contest and a hard fought game.”
Yale finished fifth in the Ivy League last season with a conference record of 2–3–2.