Pitted against one of the best collegiate teams in the nation, the Binghamton men’s soccer team kicked off its home matchup against No. 25 Cornell in high-gear. In the 16th minute of play, junior defender Michael Bush fired a long pass up the field toward junior forward Oliver Svalander who made a run in behind the defense. Svalander cut the ball to his other foot to free up space against his defender and curled a left-footed shot into the top corner of the net.
“[It was] magical,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “That was an unbelievable strike.”
As soon as the whistle blew following the goal, however, the Big Red slammed its foot on the peddle, pressuring the Binghamton defense for the remainder of the game and earning two goals in the process to take the matchup 2-1.
“Obviously disappointed that we didn’t come away with anything from tonight’s match,” Marco said. “I thought our guys played pretty hard.”
The Bearcats (7-6-1, 2-3-0 America East [AE]) soaked up the pressure for much of the first half, but the first of two Cornell (9-2-1, 2-1-0 Ivy League) goals eventually came after a cross from a red jersey found the head of Big Red sophomore defender Henry Hylbert in the 36th minute. Cornell was back in the game.
In the second half, junior goalkeeper Mats Roorda was swapped out for his redshirt junior counterpart P.J. Parker. Then, in the 49th minute of play, Parker was immediately greeted by a close-range Cornell header that fumbled its way into the back of the net. Marco said the BU team has been guilty of conceding early second-half goals.
“We need to figure out, in the second half, how to not concede a goal in the first five to 10 minutes,” Marco said. “It happened tonight, it’s been a theme of the team this year. Talking about it, addressing it, I think it’s a mindset of the guys and hopefully, we can figure it out.”
Despite conceding two goals and a penalty kick late in the game that Cornell failed to convert, the Binghamton defense kept the Bearcats in contention after the Big Red seized control of possession for the majority of the game.
“They’re the No. 1 scoring offense in the country,” Marco said. “We knew we were gonna weather the storm for a little while. We said we would rather give up corners and throw-ins in that area than concede something in the run of play. I thought we defended corners pretty well tonight. They didn’t score on the corners.”
The BU backline withstood 11 corners from the opposing side with Bush at the helm of the defense. Nonetheless, Marco was critical of the defending on Cornell’s other opportunities throughout the matchup.
“Where I thought we could have done a better job was defending in our own half,” Marco said. “We have to get better at that. Both goals came from the ball on the endline and that’s [from failing to deny] the cross.”
Binghamton is now on its fourth-straight loss and has since dropped down to fifth in the AE standings after this weekend’s play fully concluded. Saturday’s return to conference play is slated to be against NJIT. The Highlanders have only garnered a single win this season and are situated in last place in the AE.
The home game against NJIT is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.