By, Pete Janny, Sports Editor
The Manhattan men’s soccer team had a setback against the LIU Sharks by suffering a 4-0 loss at Gaelic Park last Tuesday. With the result, the Jaspers closed out non-conference play on a bad note and now sit with a record of 2-3-1.
The Jaspers looked uneven early on and could never quite recover after falling behind 2-0 in the first half.
The Sharks played off each other with ease and were able to break down the Manhattan defense with their passing in the final third.
The game got out of reach in the 59th minute when Emil Jaaskelainen converted on a volley attempt off an assist from Ben Fall. The Sharks then put the finishing touches on their win with a fourth goal in the 86th minute. The four-goal margin of defeat was the largest for Manhattan since losing 5-0 to Monmouth on March 18.
Manhattan was outpaced 15-8 in shots, including 6-1 for shots on goal. The shot total surprisingly surpassed their six attempts against Fordham despite beating the Rams 1-0.
Simon Busch and Brandon Joseph-Buadi were active throughout and each got one shot off to lead the Jaspers attack.
Manhattan was not able to unleash the speedy Joseph-Buadi as much as they would have liked during the non-conference. Credited for the assist on the game-winning goal against Fordham, Joseph-Buadi had a couple nice runs with the ball in the first half but nothing came of them. He was at the center of Manhattan’s best chance in the first half but his shot from the left side went wide of the goal.
Joseph-Buadi has 15 goals in his career for the Jaspers but will now have to wait until the MAAC season to get on the board this Fall. But Joseph-Buadi believes in the potential of the offense and is expected to be a key cog for the Jaspers as they embark on their MAAC campaign.
“Personally I think our biggest strength is the attacking threat,” Joseph-Buadi told the Quad before the LIU game. “We have multiple players who all offer something different. Whether it’s pace going forward, skill or a goal scoring threat.”
That’s essentially a vote of confidence in the likes of Johan Velez and Oswald Annang who have combined to score five goals this season. Especially in light of some defensive struggles, the need for offensive contributions becomes more important.
“I think our team’s biggest strength is our mindset to not give up until the final whistle,” Annang said. “If you look back to some of the past games, you can tell we fought hard to get results.”
The lopsided result against LIU was not anticipated after the Sharks tied both Columbia and Fordham; two teams that Manhattan tied and won against respectively. According to Annang, the team takes nothing for granted against their opponents and is instead focused on their own preparation.
“We prepare to go against any team by trying to know their strengths in order to stop them,” Annang said. “And find their weaknesses and use that to help us.”
Manhattan will next be in action when they host Iona (2-3-1) on Sept. 29. Kick off is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Gaelic Park.