By Kyle Taylor, deputy sports editor
The Northeastern (NU) men’s soccer team lost to the College of William & Mary before beating Hartford University on Tuesday, snapping a four-game losing streak. Their record is now 3-8.
Head coach Chris Gbandi raved about the way the team’s captains are able to motivate their squad through difficult times.
“I think the four captains, Harry Schwartz, Marc Greenblatt, Jon Thuresson and Ackim Mpofu, have really done a great job pushing the guys forward,” Gbandi said. “You lose big on the road, and you come back three days later and prepare for another game. I think that shows strength and the mentality within the group.”
The Huskies were unable to get much of anything going while away against the Tribe, who opened up the floodgates in the 7-1 loss for Northeastern. NU let in three goals in the first half, with two goals coming inside of the first seven minutes of the game. Unable to counter, Northeastern only took two shots during the period compared to the eight by William & Mary.
With little resistance, the offensive onslaught continued in the second half, with the Huskies allowing four goals inside of the opening 14 minutes. However, it was Northeastern that struck last when junior midfielder Daniel Arvidsson scored the second goal of his career off an assist by junior midfielder Ackim Mpofu. The Huskies’ record in the Colonial Athletics Association (CAA) is now 1-3 after three straight conference losses, sixth place in the conference.
“I thought the overall mentality after the game, as crazy as that sounds, was okay,” Gbandi said. “You’re going to go through some games like that where nothing works out. We can’t go into a game and let in two goals seven minutes into the game, so we learn from that.”
Next, the team was able to get a win against Hartford University on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The first half of the game between the Huskies and the Hawks was uneventful, with both teams amassing only five shots combined during the period. However, in the 65th minute, freshman midfielder Gerardo Milano registered the first assist of his career on a 30-yard free kick put in by sophomore defender Martin Nygaard. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Nygaard headed the ball into the net for his first collegiate goal in 24 appearances. Junior goalkeeper Jonathan Thuresson had four saves on the night.
The team has scored two goals in a game just one time this season, during a conference game against the now 1-8 Drexel team.
“We have struggled a little bit to get some goals,” Gbandi said. “But I think that one of those things is that when you let in early goals in the game, once most of these teams score one or two, they just hide behind the ball so you’re always trying to break teams down. Whereas if maybe we got an early goal and have a team try to come out and press you and try to get a goal back, then you’re able to give some opportunities.”
The Huskies are 0-7 in games where they concede the first goal of the game.
Despite NU’s low position in the conference standings, Gbandi has high aspirations for the team going forward.
“I think we’re excited more than anything to have the opportunity to compete for a chance to play in the conference tournament,” Gbandi said. “We have something to look forward to, and the guys are super excited for Elon and hoping that we get a lot of students out to support us. Because if we can do a good job and win this game, then that puts us in a great position. So we’re hoping that a lot of students can get out there and cheer on the guys.”
The Huskies’ next game will be at home against Elon University on Saturday at 6 p.m. Northeastern soccer alumni will be recognized at the game.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics