Harvard Takes on Northeast Rivals
The Harvard men’s soccer team (1-2) will attempt to return to winning form as it takes on UMass (1-4) and Vermont (3-1) this weekend.
Since its electrifying 1-0 home victory against Northeastern in front of 2,500 fans, the Crimson has dropped two straight games. Harvard failed to put a shot on target in its 2-0 loss to then-No. 25 St. Johns, and although the Crimson found more offensive rhythm against Rhode Island, the team ultimately failed to capitalize on its wealth of chances, falling 2-1.
“Both losses last weekend were a little bit frustrating, but the team morale is really good and we’re all in very high spirits,” co-captain Tim Linden said. “We saw a lot of things going our way on the field.”
Linden believes the team has made offensive improvements during training this week that will translate to success on the field.
“If we get an early goal, the game will really open up,” Linden said. “We’ll be able to really showcase some of the talent that we have.”
The Crimson’s offense will likely be led by junior forward Brian Rogers, who has scored each of Harvard’s two goals so far this season.
“He’s always looking to improve himself as a player, and he’s always looking to improve his teammates around him,” the senior defender said. “He’s had two good goals already this season, and I’m sure he’s going to want to keep that going.”
The Minutemen come to Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium tonight having lost all four of their away games this season. During this span, UMass has been held goalless, with its only win coming at home against New Hampshire in double overtime.
Despite the Minutemen’s poor record on the road, Harvard coach Carl Junot is still expecting a tough test from UMass.
“UMass is a team we know pretty well,” Junot said. “They are a little rugged and are going to want to get stuck in on tackles and break the rhythm of the game up.”
Junot believes home field advantage will help push pace of the game, helping the Crimson establish a positive tempo.
“I believe we will be the stronger possession team,” Junot said. “We will also be playing on the turf [at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium], so the speed of play will be much quicker. I think that actually benefits us now.”
On Sunday, Harvard will travel to Burlington to challenge the high-flying Catamounts.
Vermont has started off the season with three shutouts in its first four matches, losing just one game to Colgate on a last minute goal. Senior defender Yannick Lewis leads the team with two goals, but the Catamounts have not had problems finding goal scorers. Three different players, including Lewis, have all notched game-winning goals already this season.
“Going to Vermont is always tough,” Linden said. “They are always a tough team to play against—very competitive, very strong.”