After a tough opening weekend, the Lions (0-2) will try to bounce back with a Wednesday evening home contest against Manhattan (0-3).
Columbia opened its season by dropping 1-0 contests to both Fairfield and Sacred Heart. Although the Light Blue generated good possession time, it produced only five shots on goal over the two matches, after generating 18 in two wins against the same opponents in 2011.
Columbia head coach Kevin Anderson attributed the team’s difficulties in the final thirds of the field to a lack of drive. “In sport, you must score in order to win and be ruthless, cold blooded and a perfectionist at your trade,” he said.
Part of the problem may be that the Lions have been forced to search for new contributors to their attack. Seven Lions scored over 10 points last year, but only three of them have returned for this season. Midfielders Mike Mazzullo and Francois Anderson and defender Ronnie Shabanall graduated, while All-Ivy forward Will Stamatis will not play this season. Junior midfielder and co-captain David Najem, sophomore forward Kofi Agyapong, and junior midfielder Henning Sauerbier, however, have returned to the field.
Columbia’s offense may find a spark against Manhattan. The Jaspers have already allowed 14 goals against and 31 shots on goal against in just three matches, while scoring only one goal on nine shots on goal. Manhattan spent last weekend in Spokane, Wash., playing against host Gonzaga and Oregon State. Sophomore forward Tommy Amos scored the lone goal for Manhattan on a penalty kick, while senior goalkeeper George Ellis and junior goalkeeper Christopher Lands have split time tending the Jasper net.
Last season, Manhattan allowed 35 goals and scored 10 in 21 games, being outshot by nearly a 2:1 ratio. Ellis was strong in net, stopping over 80 percent of opponents’ shots on target.
Despite the proximity between Manhattan and Columbia, the two teams have not squared off since 2006, when the Lions pulled off a 1-0 win.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Columbia Soccer Stadium.