AU men’s soccer tied Bucknell 1-1 in their Patriot League home opener on Saturday in double overtime.
Bucknell led for most of the second half of the game after a goal in the late first half by the Bison’s freshman midfielder Alex Clarke. Fortunately for the Eagles, sophomore forward Jerry Zouantcha scored a clutch goal with a mere minute left in the game to send it to overtime. After two hard-fought overtime halves, the game ended in a tie.
Head coach Todd West said that AU’s (1-4-2) strategy was to keep the ball on the ground and change their point of attack as many times as possible.
“The mindset was to prepare for a Patriot League war,” West said following the game. “We tell our guys that before every time we take the field for a Patriot League game.”
It was a tough, physical game for both sides. Bucknell received a total of six yellow cards, tripling the amount American received. The tension between the two teams resulted in some hard hits and minor trash talking. Junior Oliver Price was helped off the field, though West wouldn’t say what injury he sustained.
The Eagles had numerous chances to score throughout the game, but they couldn’t capitalize on them. West said he wanted his team to do a “better job finishing” going into their next game.
“We’re still not executing our set pieces the way we can,” West said. “That’s an opportunity for us to score goals. We’re going to have to clean that up.”
While West thinks the Eagles’ offense needs to improve, the team’s defense carried them during the game. Bucknell only had four shots on goal as opposed to AU’s eight. The Eagles played with a 4-1-4-1 formation, meaning that they had four deep defenders and four midfielders. This added extra strength to their midfield and defensive game.
West said he thought that his team moved the ball “through the midfield really well today.”
AU will take the field again at Navy on Wednesday, Oct. 3.