By Julian Bell
The FDU Men’s soccer team hosted their sixth game of the season against Lehigh on Sept. 13. The Knights, currently 2-2 at home after their loss to Lehigh, were victorious in their match against Iona on Sept. 10 in which the Knights won 2-1.
However, the Knights struggled against Lehigh’s formidable offense and aggressive defensive tactics which led to their 0-1 loss. Despite Lehigh’s aggressive shooting attempts, FDU was able to formulate a strong enough defensive strategy to prevent Lehigh from accumulating additional points towards the end of the match. Much of this credit should go to the men’s soccer goalie, Sebastian Ferreira, who was just declared the NEC Rookie of the Week, prior to the match against Lehigh.
The first period of the match was marked by a slow start as neither team scored a goal. Though, both FDU and Lehigh aggressively attacked the goals at critical points in the half, neither team was successful. 28 minutes, 44 seconds into the game, FDU senior forward Enver Caymaz executed a shot attempt which was blocked by Lehigh goalie, Jacob Gotwald. Later in the half, a header shot by Lehigh’s Jack Miskel was saved by Ferreira, who made six saves that night against Lehigh. The first period came to a frustrating close for the Knights who, like Lehigh, were unable to put points on the scoreboard.
The second period of the match would mark the official downswing of FDU as Lehigh effectively applied the necessary pressure in order to score a crucial goal.
As the second half commenced, Lehigh gradually became more aggressive in attacking the goal, something that FDU was simply unable to do on offense. 49 minutes, 19 seconds into the second half, a shot by Lehigh’s Doyle Tuvesson was saved by Sabastian Ferreira; another close call for FDU fans who diligently cheered on the Knights throughout the course of the match.
However, despite all of Ferreira’s and the team’s efforts, Lehigh midfielder Mark Forrest scored the first and last goal of the entire the game. Ferreira seemed to have been in position to make another save, but Forrest was able to kick the ball right past him into the goal. FDU fans fell silent and the game dragged on leaving FDU unable to respond with a play of their own.
Perhaps FDU struggled the most with setting up situations that would allow the team to score. Consistent ball control also proved to be a challenge for the Knights. As a team, FDU only made two shots on the goal while Lehigh made seven.
Although FDU shot 15 times during the course of the match, Lehigh took more accurate shots towards the goal. Thus, Lehigh’s 14 total shots were more crucial in the game. The Knights also committed 11 fouls while Lehigh committed nine.
The Knights, unable to show pressure or take advantage of crucial scoring opportunities, were simply outplayed by Lehigh. The overuse of longball tactics also proved detrimental to the Knights.
It appeared that the reality that FDU was losing did not dawn on them until it was too late. In other words, there appeared to be a lack of incentive despite the fact that FDU was down by one goal.
Their performance against Lehigh can be considered enduring since FDU’s defence proved to be strong most of the time. With a few adjustments to the team’s offensive strategy, perhaps the Knights will be able to better position their strikers to attack the goals more precisely and aggressively.
Committing less fouls would also help the Knights better maintain possession. However, with their upcoming match against Princeton on Sep. 24 in plain view despite another loss against Bucknell, the Knights seek to redeem themselves in hopes to play in the NEC tournament in Nov.