On a Saturday night characterized by wind and mist, the men’s soccer team battled to a 1-1 draw against Columbia in its Ivy League opener. Matthew Chow ’19 paced the Bears (5-3-1) with four shots, including the team’s lone goal. Meanwhile, the Brown defense stayed solid, allowing only two shots on goal — one of which was the equalizer.
The Lions (4-2-1) came into the game off an overtime loss but had won three of their previous four matches. As a team, its offense was one to watch out for in this matchup. The Lions scored 10 goals in their first six games — one fewer than the Bears scored in their first eight.
Both teams also had to battle against blustery conditions. The howling winds led to over-hit and under-hit passes and crosses. The endless mist resulted in a slippery surface for players and the ball.
This led to “more long balls and running off the ball, as opposed to possession-based play,” Chow said.
The game started out with both teams exchanging a flurry of corner kicks in the first 10 minutes. The Bears almost opened the scoring off a header from Justin O’Brien ’19, but the ball hit the crossbar.
In the ninth minute, Chow pulled off the same feat he did against Cornell last season. He whipped in a corner that bent right past the goalkeeper without any redirection and into the back of the net for his team-leading fourth goal of the 2016 campaign. It was also his third score in three games.
The game continued to be one of corner kicks before Columbia struck back.
After one of the game’s many set pieces, both teams were in disarray in the 18-yard box. A shanked clearance by a Brown defender popped into the air. Alex Bangerl then rose and scored a spectacular bicycle kick past the outstretched hands of Erik Hanson ’17 to pull the Lions back into the game.
From there, the Bears started applying more and more pressure, forcing the Columbia goalkeeper to make several saves. In the last couple minutes of the half, the Bears were gifted a golden opportunity. Quinn English ’18 robbed a Lions defender of the ball and streaked toward goal with Will Cross ’17 alongside him. English laid it off to Cross, who shot the ball right into the hands of the netminder. The teams went into the half with a goal apiece.
The second half began with neither team able to grab a hold of the game, but after 15 minutes, the Bears seemed the more likely victors. In the 64th minute, their tough press yielded another great chance. Nico Lozada ’18 took the ball and opted to shoot rather than slide a pass across the goal. The Lions’ Zachary Adler made another great save to keep Lozada off the score sheet.
Though Columbia maintained a lot of its possessions, it was also not able to string together many threatening chances.
The best opportunity of the half fell to Tyler Long ’17. After co-captain Nate Pomeroy ’17 whiffed on a shot, the ball rolled right into Long’s path, who proceeded to smack it off the crossbar. It was not meant to be for either team, and the game went into extra time — the Bears’ third consecutive overtime match.
In the first extra period, Bruno was denied by the woodwork once again. The ball was redirected off a free kick, ricocheted off the post and fortuitously fell into Adler’s arms.
Columbia had its best opportunity to score since the first half in the extra stanzas. Striker Arthur Bosua chested the ball down to his teammate, who shanked his shot from point blank range wide. Both teams were on the hunt, but neither could find that elusive game winner. The game ended in a 1-1 deadlock.
Fitness was key for the Bears to stay competitive. This was the team’s third game in eight days that had gone into extra time. They could also take solace in the fact that they outshot their New York City foes by a tally of 13-10. Yet the team’s finishing was not up to par again, and it cost them a potential victory. By the same token, the defense was stoic and prevented the Lions from mounting many threats on goal, especially in the second frame.
The team hopes to return to its winning ways this Wednesday at home against crosstown rivals Providence College.