On Tuesday night, with both the Binghamton men’s soccer team and its opponent, Iona, yet to score, the Gaels’ senior forward Killian Colombie received a cross into the box with just the keeper to beat. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Chris Shutler quickly closed the distance on him to make a huge save, preventing the Bearcats (0-2-0) from conceding a goal in the second half. The teams remained in a deadlock for the rest of regulation, but just 4:27 into the first overtime period, sophomore midfielder Josh Plimpton scored the golden goal for the Gaels, ending the game.
Throughout the match, the Bearcats were playing frustratedly. Whether it was missed calls or missed opportunities, players threw their hands up in frustration over and over.
“Sometimes you have to show care that you understand what they’re going through, because it is a contact sport,” said BU head coach Paul Marco.
Their frustration played out as the team accumulated 15 fouls and five yellow cards.
“Disappointed in the yellow cards,” Marco said. “I think both coaches will be disappointed in how many were issued.”
Graduate student midfielder Kevin Flesch ended up being sent off with his second yellow card in the 85th minute.
“That led to a red card for us, that was very difficult for us to overcome,” Marco added.
Tuesday’s game was the Bearcats’ first meeting with Iona (1-0-1). Throughout the first half, the Gaels created many opportunities by pushing down the wings with pace, but three first-half saves by Shutler kept the score tied. Binghamton had its best first-half chance to score in the 40th minute when it had two corners, but a shot by senior forward Chris Nkoghe was deflected before it reached the net.
Iona’s offense kept up the pressure in the second half, and after the critical 68th minute save by Shutler, the Bearcats missed their best opportunity of the game. Binghamton had a wide-open cross in the 71st minute, but no one was able to get a foot on it to put the ball in the back of the net. Regulation ended with the score still tied at zero as a result of five second-half saves by Shutler.
“I thought [Shutler] was terrific, he also played his part, we’ve asked him to do certain things and I thought he did a very good job today managing those moments,” Marco said. “He saved our butts a few times.”
Going into overtime down a man, the Bearcats changed things up a bit.
“We changed the shape of the group to try to clog the middle a little more,” Marco said.
Ultimately, the adjustments weren’t enough as Plimpton scored the game-winning goal in transition. Moving forward, Binghamton is looking to play with much more discipline.
“Overall, I’m disappointed. We picked up too many fouls in both of the first two games,” Marco said. “We’re going to have to address that quickly with the team and get that out of the system.”
Next up for the Bearcats is a home game against Cornell on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.