The game plan could have derailed in any number of places in a lopsided, storm-struck match. The Hoyas had to work through an underdog opponent sandwiched in between two tough sections of the schedule, a lightning delay in the first half, a small crowd and frequent substitutions. Despite all this, the No. 25 Georgetown men’s soccer team (2-2-1) avoided the upset against Radford (3-1-1), routing the Highlanders 5-2.
The Hoyas may have started the season slowly, but they entered the match coming off a marquee win over the No. 8 UCLA Bruins (1-3). On Saturday afternoon at home, Georgetown was clearly the better team, though Radford held its own at times, especially for the first 10 minutes. The talent of Georgetown’s individual players, however, began to turn the tide of the game in the 13th minute.
Senior forward Brandon Allen brought down a pass in front of the Radford back line with a very strong piece of holdup play before starting a quick series of passes. He then collected the ball again, drove through the Highlanders’ defense at the top left of the 18-yard box and buried his shot in the far post. Allen would score again less than a minute later when he converted a penalty kick earned by junior midfielder Bakie Goodman, who drew the foul in the box after falling on a poor Radford back pass.
Those two plays set the tone for the majority of the match. Georgetown’s front line easily bypassed the Radford defense on several occasions, with forwards scoring all five of the team’s goals Saturday.
“Today was a good example of the quality up front. You don’t get a lot of chances, but the chances you get you put away nicely. And that is the difference in the game, possibly,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
After Allen’s brace, the Hoyas experienced little pressure from the Highlander offense. Junior forward Alex Muyl netted the first of his two goals in the 32nd minute to stretch the lead to three. Entering the half, the team led 4-1.
“After starting the season not scoring many goals in the first few games, we were doing the right things but it just wasn’t happening for us. We’ve kept a good mentality and it showed today,” Muyl said.
Radford scored the first of its goals immediately after the weather delay late in the first half. The Highlanders exited the break pressing for a goal, while the Hoyas seemed slow to respond. Sophomore forward Declan McCabe ended any Radford momentum when he put Georgetown ahead 4-1 with a goal in the 41st minute. Muyl would add his second goal of the day in the second half. Both Muyl and Allen would each finish the match with two goals and an assist.
In addition to Muyl’s goal, the second half included wholesale personnel changes for Georgetown. Wiese used 19 different players in the match, including junior goalkeeper Mitchell Auer and freshman midfielder Edson Martinez, who each made their Georgetown debuts.
The heavy use of substitutions allowed the team to rest players in advance of a series of three games in seven days starting Thursday. It also gave the coaching staff a chance to work with the team and use in-game situations without the immediate pressures of a close contest.
“That 45 minutes is really important for [Martinez] so we can sit down and say, ‘You are doing this right and you are doing this wrong.’ All these guys need that.” Wiese said.
The Hoyas are starting to return to full health, with only senior midfielder Melvin Snoh and junior defender and co-captain Joshua Yaro missing the match due to injury. Yaro warmed up with the team before the game, indicating that his recovery is progressing.
A healthy lineup will be essential in the upcoming weeks as Georgetown begins one of the toughest stretches of its schedule. Trips to Virginia Commonwealth University (2-4) and West Virginia University (2-3) precede a matchup against No. 4 Maryland (2-1). Then the daunting Big East schedule begins. Preparation for those tests began with this past week’s schedule and Saturday’s comfortable win.
“The one game this weekend, for a lot of reasons, was nice. Hopefully, it slingshots us into this hard two-week stretch,” Wiese said.
For senior defender and co-captain Cole Seiler, Saturday’s game highlights areas of play that need to be remedied heading into the more challenging portion of the schedule.
“We definitely have to lock it up more, stay more focused, especially with our clearances. Those two goals are kind of upsetting us,” Seiler said.
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