The Yale men’s soccer team hit the road for its penultimate game of the season, looking to improve its standing in the Ivy League, but the Bulldogs ultimately came up short in a close 1–0 loss against Brown.
The Elis (6–6–3, 1–3–2 Ivy) faced off with the Bears (8–7–1, 2–4–0) on a windy Saturday evening for their final road showdown of the season. A goal in the 29th minute by Brown senior Toby Howell put Yale behind in an early first-half hole. Despite outshooting the Bears, Yale could not find an equalizer, ultimately traveling home to the Elm City with a 1–0 loss.
“I think despite the disappointing result, we showed resilience as we pushed on for the tying goal,” forward Aldo Quevedo ’21 said. “We created some decent chances, and it’s just a matter of finishing our opportunities.”
The windy conditions of the game, which doubled as Brown’s senior day, and the setting sun tested the Elis in enemy territory. However, the Bulldogs opened the match strong and got the first of the game’s close opportunities. Forward Paolo Carroll ’22 spun around a Brown defender and passed the ball to midfielder Miguel Yuste ’20, who ripped a shot on goal. However, Bear goalkeeper Maxwell Waldau saved the ball as both teams settled into the action.
A counter chance came for the Bears in the eighth minute on a free kick outside the box. Matthew Chow sent the ball in front of the left goal post, but goalkeeper Elian Haddock ’22 sent the ball away with a one-handed deflection. On the very next play, the Bears got another chance on net with a promising look off a corner kick, but Haddock was once again up to the task as he made the save.
The Elis’ best chance of the night came off a corner kick by midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21 in the 24th minute. The ball sailed to the far right side of the net, and a powerful strike by forward Kyle Kenagy ’19 deflected off the goal post. His header off the rebound went over the net to end the sequence, which nearly resulted in a Yale goal.
However, Brown finally broke the scoring deadlock in the 29th minute. Chow streaked down the left side and sent a ball to Derek Waleffe in front of the net. A sneaky backheel pass from Waleffe found Howell on the right side of the box, and he finished the opportunity with a curling shot on the outside of his foot that sailed into the bottom left corner. With Brown finding the scoreboard, the teams retreated to the locker room at halftime separated by one.
In the second half, Yale looked to apply the pressure, but the effort proved not enough to net an equalizer. Six different Elis took their shot at goal — Winhoffer, Yuste, Quevedo, and midfielders Nicky Downs ’19, Enzo Okpoye ’22 and Ryan Matteo ’20 — but the final scoreboard would ultimately read 1–0 in favor of Brown.
“We have not been scoring that many goals lately, and that is something we have to improve,” Yuste said. “We should have tried to maximize the width of the field, and we could have been more aggressive in the final third. On the other side, we have struggled to keep a clean sheet and lock it down defensively.”
The match marked Waldau’s first career shutout in only his second game playing in goal. On the Yale side, Haddock made two saves in his third career start.
The Elis outshot the Bears 12–5, but had only two shots on goal to Brown’s three. Yuste led the team with three shots, one on goal, followed by Quevedo, Matteo and Kenagy with two shots. Yale led in corner kicks 6–3, but that advantage was negated by their excessive total of 19 fouls, with 11 of those coming in the second half and hindering the Bulldogs’ comeback effort.
“I thought we created more good chances than Brown, but that’s not been uncommon for us with our opponents,” head coach Kylie Stannard said. “What needs to improve is the final end product to put chances away and be more aggressive and opportunistic in the box.”
The loss feels eerily similar to last week’s defeat against Columbia, where two early goals by the Lions proved too much to overcome despite Yale outplaying its opponent overall.
Coming into the match, Brown trailed the Bulldogs by two in the Ivy League standings, but the win gave Bears the edge over the Elis with six points to Yale’s five. With just one match remaining, the Elis sit sixth in the league above Penn and Harvard. Despite occupying a spot below last year’s final conference standing, the Bulldogs have secured six wins this season, their most since 2011 with one game still to play.
“Every year, we have ambition to leave the jersey in a better place than the previous year,” Stannard said. “And we still have an opportunity to finish with a winning record, so that’s what we are focused on this week and will work hard to give everything we have to make that happen.”
The Elis take on Ivy league-leader Princeton for Senior Day this Saturday at 4 p.m.
Cate Sawkins | email@example.com