The men’s soccer team (3-2) continued its string of two-goal games en route to a 2-1 victory over Northeastern on Saturday. It was the Light Blue’s third win in a row, as well as its third-straight game with two goals. And it snapped the Huskies’ (2-3-2) 18-game unbeaten streak at home.
Senior midfielder David Najem and first-year midfielder Andrew Tinari have played a role in scoring in each of the wins, and Saturday was no exception. Najem, who is playing a more attacking role this season, got the ball from Tinari, moved into the box and chipped a shot over Huskies goalkeeper Dylan Faber for his fourth goal of the season.
Najem said he’s pleased not only to score himself, but also to see the types of goals the team is scoring.
“All of them are great build-up goals with most of the team involved,” he said in an email. “The opportunities all start with good pressure defensively, a good stint of possession, and a great final ball that leads to a finish.”
Huskies midfielder Dante Marini tied the game with about 10 minutes to go in the half. He found a little space near the top of the box and put a shot inside the post.
The Lions, much like in their previous two wins, started the second half strong and got the game-winning goal in the 59th minute. A Light Blue pass into the middle was headed into the air, and senior back David Westlake won the race to the ball. His shot was stopped, but senior striker Will Stamatis put in the rebound.
Najem said that in the last two games Columbia has used the first half to “feel out” its opponent.
“Once we had the first half under our belt, we made positive adjustments and knew what to expect from our opponents, which then allowed us to apply tactics—especially our depth—that we’ve been working on and with all season,” Najem said.
Najem added that the Lions’ depth was especially important considering how physical the match was.
“We go into every game trying to solve problems tactically rather than physically, which is something our coaching staff believes in a lot,” he said. “However, a game like last night shows that even if the game gets a little chippy, we will always be up for the challenge and continue to battle to get a good result.”
The physicality resulted in many players taking rough tumbles, with a good amount of disputed calls and non-calls. One foul call on Columbia with about five minutes to go nearly resulted in the tying goal for Northeastern. The Huskies’ long free kick came into the box, was headed twice, and came to Marini, who turned and volleyed but missed the net.
Columbia is back at home on Wednesday to face LIU Brooklyn.