After kicking off its 2013 campaign with four road games, the Binghamton men’s soccer team is set for its home-opener tonight against Buffalo.
Though BU (1-2-1) began the season with back-to-back losses, the team is trending upward as 220 consecutive shutout minutes secured the Bearcats positive results in their last two contests.
“I thought our defense has played terrific,” Binghamton head coach Paul Marco said. “And I won’t just say it’s been the defense. I would say that everybody the last two matches has played their part in defending. When the other team has had the ball, I feel like our team has been very committed to competing in the moments and taking up great positions. They’ve done a terrific job.”
In its most recent contest against undefeated George Mason, BU was forced to play a man down for the entire second half after a red card late in the first left the team at a significant disadvantage. But the Bearcats still shut down the Patriots, snapping their five-game win streak.
“It showed a lot of character,” Marco said about his team’s resiliency. “They could have easily thrown in the towel, but you won’t see that from us. We’ll give an honest day’s effort every day. That’s one of our expectations of the players, and it’s one of the expectations the players have of the coaches.”
Offensively, Binghamton has created plenty of opportunities this season, though it has only managed to convert once. Senior midfielder Tommy Moon, who has taken eight shots and netted this season’s only goal, has led the attack for the Bearcats so far, but Marco insisted that his team is still searching for its offensive identity.
“I’ve said all along it’s going to take us a little bit of time to figure out who will be the goal scorer,” Marco said. “We graduated [Jake Keegan], the top goal scorer that we’ve had in our Division I history, so filling those shoes won’t be easy. I think that for now, it’ll still be done by committee.”
Buffalo (0-3-2) will come to Binghamton looking for its first win of the season. The Bulls, who haven’t scored in their past three matches, managed to shut down a Canisius offense that hadn’t yet been held scoreless, forcing a 0-0 tie.
“They’re pretty similar to us in a lot of areas,” Marco said. “They’re a young team and have a few transfers and a few freshmen playing. But they’re trying to find the back of the net as well. I don’t see it being a defensive battle. I think you’ll see a lot of opportunities created … They’re a team that could cause us some problems, but our guys are ready for them.”
The Bearcats will at least have the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd tonight.
“I think that the players have put the time and energy, so hopefully they get to play in front of a great crowd,” Marco said. “Usually, we have that at home, so I wouldn’t expect that to change. I met with the BU Zoo and some of the Hooligan guys, so I’m expecting them to be out in full force. So hopefully it’s an electric night with a great atmosphere. It’s a green-out, so hopefully everybody should be wearing their Binghamton green.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex.