Binghamton head coach Paul Marco unraveled his scarf, which had protected his face on the windswept field during the BU men’s soccer team’s game Saturday night. After the final whistle, Marco revealed a scowling mien that told the story of the Bearcats’ maddening 2-0 loss to Vermont.
“I’m pissed,” he said.
But even though Binghamton (6-4-5, 1-2-2 America East) was shut out by Vermont, the Bearcats dominated much of the game. The Bearcats outshot the Catamounts (10-5-1, 2-3 AE), 11-5. On the frigid night, the Bearcats’ approach on the field drew the ire of their coach.
“I’m just disappointed in the way we approached the match,” Marco said. ”We didn’t have a zest, a bounce in our step. We just let them come and dictate play in the first 10 minutes. Then we were fighting and scraping to get the goal back.”
The tough loss bumped BU to seventh place in the AE. With five points, Binghamton now finds itself one point behind Hartford and two behind Vermont with just two AE games remaining. One year after reaching the conference title game, the Bearcats are in danger of missing the six-team conference playoffs altogether.
“Everybody knows you need points,” Marco said. “I mean, if you don’t win games it’s hard to make the playoffs.”
Through all of the Bearcats’ injury issues and hardships, their defense has kept steady. But against the Catamounts, it swayed. BU gave up an easy goal in each half and has now dropped two straight matches.
Anchored by the redshirt freshman goalkeeper Alejandro Cubillo and the team’s two captains — redshirt junior back Charlie Novoth and senior back Zach Galluzzo — Binghamton’s defense ranks third in the conference in goals allowed and second in clean sheets.
“As great as our two center backs and our back four have been in general, we gave [the Catamounts] a couple of moments and they got two goals,” Marco said. “I’m disappointed and I’m going to take a closer look as to what happened. Our guys did not have a passion for the game to get goals or compete or attack.”
In just the eighth minute, freshman midfielder Jon Arnar Barddal put Vermont ahead. He strung the ball through two Binghamton defenders and past Cubillo into the top left corner of the net.
Binghamton spent the rest of the game chasing the Catamounts, often coming close but never drawing even. In the remaining 37 minutes of the half, BU got off seven shots on net, while Vermont registered just one.
Sophomore forward Nikkos Psarras led the effort, narrowly missing one shot off a breakaway in the ninth minute. He missed another breakaway shot just seven minutes later.
Vermont sealed the match in the 67th minute when senior forward Bernard Yeboah found the ball in the middle of the box and fired the ball into the back of the net.
“I’m convinced that this group has a lot more,” Marco said. “It’s a young group, so maybe this is a one-off, but we’ll see.”
Despite Binghamton’s two consecutive losses, it still has a chance to move into playoff contention by the end of the season. The Bearcats will play their final two AE games against Stony Brook and Albany, but will first face Hofstra.
Binghamton is set to play Hofstra tonight. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Hofstra University Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, New York.