Booters Top MIT on Fluke Goal, 1-0; Booth Scores on Engineer Deflection
How can a soccer team win if its opponent scores the only goal of the game? Simple. If the opposition happens to be visiting MIT, and it happens to kick the ball into its own net, the team (in this case, Harvard) is lucky to escape with a 1-0 victory.
Unfortunately, the fluke goal typified the kind of game the two teams played all afternoon. It was not your standard 5-0 Crimson rout; Harvard displayed little of the crisp passing and overpowering offense which characterized Crimson soccer teams of the past. To be brutally honest it was nothing but plain old mediocre soccer all game long and boring soccer at that.
And if sophomore fullback Ralph Booth had not seen an opening in the Engineer defense and gotten off a weak chip shot which an unlucky MIT defender deflected past his surprised goalie, early in the second half, the Crimson might have floundered the rest of the way to a tie.
For MIT, a team which has never beaten Harvard in soccer, much less played them virtually even, a tie would have been an upset on the order of the famous Harvard-Yale 29-29 tie.
As if the lackluster Harvard offensive showing was not enough, the team lost its only legitimate scoring threat, Felix Adedeji, midway through the second half with a twisted left knee. Adedeji played well at times but missed a golden opportunity in the second half on a breakaway.
Adedeji may have strained ligaments in his knee. If he is out of the lineup for any period of time, or reinjures his knee, what offense the Crimson does have may go out the window.
It was readily apparent from the start that Harvard was a mere shadow of the team which went 10-2-1 on the year last Fall and made the NCAA quarterfinals. Although the team showed signs of potential all afternoon, MIT had several scoring opportunities in the opening stages of the contest and held a wide territorial edge for the first ten minutes before Harvard got organized.
The Crimson began to settle down with 15 minutes gone in the half, as it began taking the ball deep into the MIT end. Numerous scoring chances failed to click however. Adedeji took a number of shots wide and from difficult angles while linemate Art Fadden shot wide on a head goal opportunity after a well-placed crossing pass from Ric Lacivita.
After some early miscues, the Harvard defense played creditably, although a little unsure of itself at times. Most of the Crimson's problems seemed to be at midfield. The extra split second before passing and repeated bunching in the
After some early miscues, the Harvard defense played creditably, although a little unsure of itself at times. Most of the Crimson's problems seemed to be at midfield. The extra split second before passing and repeated bunching in the center limited Harvard's offensive effectiveness. Offensively, the crossing and through passes were weak, an area coach Bruce Munro plans to work on in a scrimmage today. A number of rushes were stalled as well by repeated Harvard offsides.
"We looked like we were playing at practice pace," Munro said after the game. "I can't believe we went through the whole game without scoring," he added, "but at least we kept the ball out of our net."
The new 3-3-4 alignment seems to be fitted to Harvard's strength in the defense, but with only three forwards the midfield must give the front line some offensive support, something it rarely did yesterday.
Munro might be forced to experiment with a new formation if he is going to find some scoring punch. "I'm not sure I like this 3-3-4," he said. From the way Harvard played yesterday there were probably a lot of other things Munro wasn't pleased with.