The Lions fail to win their sixth game in a row after their 0-1 loss to Iona College.
This has certainly been a frustrating season for the Columbia men’s soccer team. The Lions (1-4-2) currently have the second-worst record in the Ivy League with only Dartmouth (0-6) trailing behind. Cornell (5-1-1) boasts the best record in the conference and is the only Ivy to earn themselves a place in the NCAA rankings (29th). While conference play does not start until October 2nd, the current Ivy records are extremely telling. Unless the season turns around when conference play starts, the Lions’ chances of finishing in the top half of the Ivy League standings or even landing in the NCAA tournament are nonexistent.
Scoring has been the primary issue for the Lion soccer team. With only four goals in seven games, the team is struggling to finish. Goals have been hard to come by but not due to a lack of trying. The Lions have averaged 10 shots per game. Less than 40 percent of those shots have been on goal and only 5.8 percent of total shots taken have ended up in the back of the net. Recently, in the game against Iona, the Lions had four one on one chances with the goalkeeper and failed to convert all of them. Columbia has not scored a goal since September 10th–almost three weeks ago.
At the other end of the field, the team has been solid. All four losses have been 0-1 showing that the Columbia defense has been doing their best. An extremely strong defensive base headed by goalkeeper Michael Collodi has performed well this season despite their contradictory record. Collodi has posted an impressive 28 saves and is ranked 3rd in the country in save percentage. Defenders Max Gonzalez and Keenan Foley have also proved to be incredibly important to keeping the Lions in the fight. There is only so much the defense can do–especially when faced with bombardment after bombardment. Without their star goalkeeper and key defenders, this season would be looking far worse for the Lions.
The team faces another huge issue: fouls and bookings. Throughout only seven games, the Lions have managed to commit an astounding 86 fouls and earn 13 yellow cards and a red card. While this may not sound concerning, every foul grants the opposing team a scoring opportunity and places the defense in jeopardy. Yellow cards cause players to act more cautiously so they do not get sent off and therefore forces other team members to carry more weight. As for the red card, the team then has to play with 10 men, meaning they must cover more ground to make up for being a player down. If the Lions are able to cut down on fouls, they should be able to remove stress from their defense and spend more time possessing and attacking.
Columbia will hope to turn their season around as they begin Ivy League Conference play against Brown at Rocco B. Commisso Stadium on October 2nd.
Rocco B. Commisso Stadium via Wikimedia Commons