Like in its match on Tuesday night against No. 15 St. John’s, going by national rankings, Columbia men’s soccer (2-6-1, 0-1 Ivy) should have been outmatched against the defending Ivy co-champions, No. 21 Brown (7-1, 1-0 Ivy). Also like in Tuesday’s match, the Lions held firm at 0-0 through halftime. But unlike in the match on Tuesday night, there was nothing on the score sheet in the first half to indicate the Lions were being outplayed. The Lions even outshot Brown 6-4 in the first half, including 2-1 on goal.
But when the final whistle blew, Brown was on top for a 2-1 win.
That’s because the second half was a different story. The Bears came out of halftime firing, with five shots in the first 14 minutes, and sophomore midfielder Thomas McNamara opened the scoring on a penalty kick in the 70th minute. Six minutes later, freshman midfielder Daniel Taylor scored, and Brown held on for a 2-1 win.
“When you’re away from home and you’re playing against a team as good as Brown, those situations are very difficult because there’s a big emotional swing when something like that [a penalty kick] happens,” Lions head coach Kevin Anderson said. “That then forces our hand to continue to now push forward and take more risks because we’re not going there to do anything except be successful.”
Freshman defender/midfielder Antonio Matarazzo tallied his first career goal for the Lions a few minutes later, but his team could not score another next goal and only registered one more shot, coming from Matarazzo.
The Lions just couldn’t replicate their success from the first half. Despite outshooting Brown, the Lions’ didn’t sustain their play.
This isn’t the first time inconsistency has plagued the Lions this year—it has been a theme throughout the season.
“We seemed to be a little bit unsure as far as being on the road and playing the first Ivy League game,” Anderson said. “I think once we settled into the game and sort of got our feet under us a little bit I think the game evened out a bit. ... We limited the amount of opportunities they got, we were able to stick to our game plan.”
While that did not cost the Light Blue in the first half, the team was not able to build a lead that would act as a buffer against the ill-timed foul and goal-mouth scramble that led to Brown’s goals in the second. Nonetheless, Anderson believes these last two matches against ranked opponents are encouraging for the team.
“We came close to putting in the effort that’s necessary for 90 minutes,” Anderson said. “We’ve got to put in that same effort and find moments of quality within our team. And there certainly were moments, we just have to capitalize on those moments.”
Columbia next plays at Penn on Saturday.