Mark Winhoffer

After two defensive master-classes against Fairfield and Stony Brook, the Yale men’s soccer team will head to New Britain on Sept. 30 to play Central Connecticut, before hosting Ivy League rival Harvard on Oct. 4.

The Bulldogs (4–0–2, 0–0–0 Ivy) are still unbeaten this season after six games — setting a record for their best start since 2002. The team will be looking to bag their fifth straight victory against the Blue Devils (0–4–1, 0–0–0 Northeast) on Monday night and Harvard (0–4–1, 0–0–0 Ivy) next Friday. While Yale has been on fire so far, it has been a different narrative for Central Connecticut who failed to record a single victory in its 2019 campaign. To add to that, the Blue Devils have conceded 19 goals in five games and scored just two of their own. Statistics will hold little value on the field, however, as the Blue Devils will aim to be the first side to beat the Elis this season.

“We’ve had a great start to the season, and we’re obviously happy that we are still undefeated,” captain and midfielder Miguel Yuste ’20 said, “As we head into our conference games, we want to keep this going by looking at it one game at a time. The most important game of the season is the next one, CCSU in this case.”

For Yale, this as a prime opportunity to avenge its last meeting with Central Connecticut in 2015, when the Blue Devils won 1–0. Despite leading in shots 14–9 that day, the Blue Devils snatched victory with under 10 minutes of the game left when forward Louis Beddouri notched the game-winning tally.

The Elis will be coming into the game with momentum, having just earned a national ranking at No. 28 in College Soccer News’ Top-30 National Poll. In addition, on an individual level, forward Paolo Carrol ’22 and creative midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21 both place second the Ivy League in assists with four apiece. Not satisfied with simply having the title of captain, Yuste has equally led by example, tying for second on the Ancient Eight goalscorers list with four goals to his name.

Next week the Bulldogs will have a chance to face-off against archrival Harvard. In this fixture last season they suffered a bitter 1–0 loss in Cambridge. Despite the Elis asserting intense pressure for the duration of the tilt, Harvard snatched the only goal in the second half when forward Alfred Perez intercepted a header intended to go back to the Yale goalkeeper and chipped it in.

Having failed to beat Harvard in six years, Yale will see this contest as a golden chance to put an end to the losing streak. Similar to Central Connecticut’s campaign, the Crimson’s season has gotten off to a rocky start. They started off their season losing 6–0 against No. 20 North Carolina, before falling to Duke 3–0. The Crimson did not fare much better in front of a Cambridge home crowd on Tuesday, settling for a 3–3 draw after forfeiting a two-goal lead against Merrimack. Overall they have conceded 17 goals in just five games, while only scoring five themselves.

“We are super excited to start Ivy play next Friday,” defender Lazaros Efthymiou ’22 said. “Harvard is our biggest rival and we obviously want to win but we also want it to be a dominant performance and send a message for the rest of Ivy play. However, we play Central Connecticut first so for now, that is the most important game.”

Monday’s game against Central Connecticut will kick off at 6 p.m., while the highly anticipated Harvard game will see the Bulldogs hosting the Crimson at Reese Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m.

Sophie Kane | sophie.kane@yale.edu

Syimyk Kyshtoobaev | syimyk.kyshtoobaev@yale.edu