Men’s Soccer: Terriers come from behind twice to salvage draw in Comm Ave Classic

By Charlie DeMatteo

Having not beaten their Commonwealth Avenue counterpart Boston College (2-2-3, 0-1-1 in conference) in 11 years, Boston University men’s soccer (4-2-1, 1-0 PL) came from behind on two separate occasions to earn a 2-2 draw in Newton on Tuesday night, but were unable to snap their winless streak against the Eagles.

After falling behind 1-0 early on, the Terriers were able to find an equalizer, but only before a BC goal just before the break pegged them back once more. Just moments into the second half though, BU equalized and despite a number of chances on both ends, the game ended all square.

“I thought it was a good game, they are a good side,” BU head coach Kevin Nylen said postgame. “I thought we set up very well, I tip my hat to our guys.”

It was an end-to-end start in Newton. Not even 30 seconds into the game, the Terriers had a golden opportunity to take the lead when senior forward Andrew Rent was denied from close range by BC goalkeeper Leon Musial. Just three minutes later, however, BC had a big chance of their own go begging when freshman midfielder Marco Dos Santos had his volley saved acrobatically by senior goalkeeper Francesco Montali.

The Terriers and Eagles exchanged blows for another 20 minutes, with BU more than holding their own against their ACC counterpart. Graduate midfielder and captain Quinn Matulis had his fingerprints all over the game, popping up in half spaces all over the field and troubling the BC defense.

“I thought we started the game very well,” Nylen said. “I thought it was a rather productive night for us for the majority of it.”

BC troubled BU as well, however, and sophomore defender Quinn DeLamater made a crucial block to prevent a huge scoring chance for the Eagles in the 17th minute.

“I thought [DeLamater] was great tonight, I was pleased with his performance,” Nylen said.

The Eagles kept knocking at the door though, and a slick bit of build up play led to sophomore midfielder John Roman giving away a penalty kick. Junior midfielder Aidan Farwell then stepped up and dispatched the penalty in the bottom left corner to give BC the 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute.

Despite the BC goal coming slightly against the run of play, BU responded just five minutes later through a Matulis free kick in the 27th minute to get back on level terms. With Tuesday’s goal, Matulis now has three direct free kick goals on the season—it’s becoming a signature of his.

Just when it looked like the Terriers would head into the locker room tied at one, a stroke of luck for the Eagles saw BU fall behind once more in the 44th minute. After it appeared BU midfielder Ryan Lee was fouled in the buildup, Eagles forward Augustine Boadi let a shot rip from outside the box which took a huge deflection and looped over Montali and into the net. No foul was called, leaving the Terriers furious with the referee.

Finding themselves down a goal once more, BU continued to plug away in the second half. After BC’s goal came with a stroke of luck, a miscommunication by the BC defense saw Rent clean through on goal and slot home into an empty net, and he tied the game at two in the 53rd minute.

“Sometimes it’s easy when you’re on top or if you’re winning, but sometimes you have to respond and not waver,” Nylen said. “I thought our guys did a very good job tonight  in terms of their mental focus and inner fortitude.”

The next 30 minutes saw a cagey affair between the two teams as legs began to tire. However, each team had a big chance in the game’s final three minutes to try to edge out the win.

The first chance came to BU in the 87th minute following a well-worked free kick routine which saw sophomore forward Alex Bonnington poke home from an Eitan Rosen pass. However, the flag was quickly raised for offside. 

The Eagles had a chance in the game’s final seconds to snatch the victory, but some great defending by Montali and senior defender Griffin Roach kept sophomore defender CJ Williams’ effort just barely out of the BU net.

Both teams had to catch their breath at the full-time whistle after an action-packed 90 minutes.

The Terriers will travel to Washington, D.C. next time out on Saturday to face American, with kickoff set for 1 p.m.