With an overflowing crowd at Alumni Field as part of this past weekend’s homecoming festivities, the Brock University men’s Soccer team fell to the number nine nationally ranked McMaster Marauders with a final score of 3-1.
McMaster gained momentum after an early goal, taking the crowd out of the game and then dominating play for the entire first half. The highlight of the half was the reaction of Brock’s Shawn Johnson with a goal-line clearance to keep the deficit at one goal, which came soon after McMaster’s first goal. However, a nice one-two by the Marauder’s left flank led to an easy finish to increase the margin.
It would only get tougher for the Badgers from there, as a defensive lapse left a McMaster striker all alone on the top of the box, which gave the Marauders a three-goal lead. With 10 minutes to go in the first half, an innocent shot would be the first and last of that half for the Badgers, after McMaster had already recorded seven shots and three goals.
There would be a premature end to the first half, after a midfield collision forced the referee to call play early. A Marauder midfielder had a large gash across his head and there was a lengthy delay while the ambulance was called, but the player seemed to be in stable condition as he was stretchered off.
The second half was uneventful, and play mainly ran back and forth without many scoring chances. With just a few minutes to go in regulation, Eric Serafino deposited the ball in the back corner to end the Badgers scoreless streak at just less than 270 minutes.
The Marauders played only three defenders against the Badgers which clogged up the midfield and shut down rookie phenom Alexander Makubaya, giving him no space to operate. Moreover, the Brock attack seemed to have lost its confidence with numerous strikers passing up shot opportunities. Overpassing was a constant theme on the day and possession was lost on many occasions as the quality of passing just was not high enough given the volume.
Brock is now on a three-game losing streak, having not recorded a shot in their last game against Western, and having been unable to find the back of the net away from Alumni Field this year.
The team came out very weak again to start the game, conceding a goal within the first five minutes. This has been a clear pattern this season and Coach Lucio Ianiero said following the game, “we got a problem with getting up for games. We get scored on in the first five minutes and that’s something we’re going to have to find a solution to. We can’t keep giving up early goals.”
However, Ianiero pointed to a lackluster effort on defence when responding to why the Badgers lost.
“We were outmatched tactically and technically. Our guys couldn’t figure out their marking responsibilities and they exposed us.”
The coach did identify areas of improvement, specifically on the topic of generating more offensive chances to spell the current dry streak.
“We need to maintain possession better, and that’ll give us more opportunities to move the ball forward. Tactically, we have things to work on. Game smarts. That’s something coaches have to work on and teach the kids how to play,” said Coach Ianiero.
Ianiero did caution optimism after opening the season up undefeated, warning that the team could go from 2-0-1 to 2-4-1, which is a prediction that came true after they lost 3-0 at York on Sept. 18. The team is in the midst of a tough five-game stretch all against nationally ranked teams in Guelph, McMaster, York, and Western, whom they play twice.