If the Columbia men’s soccer team (2-5-1) had merely replicated what it did during the first half after halftime of Tuesday night’s game at No. 13 St. John’s, it would have walked away heavily outshot, but with a draw nonetheless. Instead, it walked away heavily outshot and with its fifth loss, 3-1, heading into Saturday’s match against defending Ancient Eight co-champion Brown (6-1).
“Some periods, we played really, really well, and we scored at the end and it was getting actually to be a very close game before we gave up an unfortunate goal,” said junior midfielder Henning Sauerbier, who was the Light Blue’s lone goal scorer. “If we can put together a 90-minute performance on Saturday, I think we can go up to Brown and actually get a result.”
Players and head coach Kevin Anderson all agree—the team lacks consistency. Otherwise solid play is marred by uncharacteristically poor decisions with the ball, missed coverage on set pieces, or fatigue.
The Lions hope that now, with the games counting toward the conference title, they can pull it all together.
“The good thing is we start 0-0 in the conference, so it kind of gives us a second chance this season,” Sauerbier said. He added that the team needs to apply what it learned during the first part of the season and use those experiences to move forward.
The Lions will need that complete performance to match Brown. Last year the Bears made it into the final 16 of the NCAA tournament. They played last weekend in Seattle, Wash., and their dormant offense woke up with seven goals in two games, both wins.
Despite its gaudy record, Brown does not have just one or two standout offensive performers this year—three players are tied for the team lead in goals, each having recorded two.
Last season, the Lions hosted Brown and won, 2-1, in double overtime. Sauerbier scored early in the second half.
Kickoff is Saturday at 7 p.m. in Providence, R.I.