After a narrow loss in the 2017 SUNYAC finals, the Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team began 2018 on a low note, finishing 0-2 in the Best Western Plus Cardinal Classic.
The Cardinals (1-2) will look to get above .500 at the Mayor’s Cup tournament in Oneonta, New York, where they play UMass-Boston (0-3) Friday and St. Lawrence University (2-0) Saturday. Both games kick off at 1 p.m.
PSUC head coach Chris Taylor, in his first season leading the Cards, is anticipating tough competition.
“UMass-Boston, a couple of years ago, were one of the best teams in the country,” Taylor said. “They always have a lot of talent, so that will be a really intriguing game.”
The Cards began with a 2-1 loss to William Paterson University (1-0-1) Friday, with senior midfielder Taka Fukushima scoring from the penalty spot.
“Friday was not who we are as a team,” junior captain Joe Gula said.
PSUC then fell to Springfield College (2-0) Saturday by an identical 2-1 score.
Despite the loss, PSUC created the better chances in the first half. In the opening minutes, senior forward Chris Robertson ran the ball inside the 6 yard box and cut it back to a teammate, but the shot soared high.
“You’re always going to worry about missed chances,” Taylor said. “They don’t give up many chances. They were one of the best defensive teams in the country last year.”
Against the run of play, Springfield opened the scoring before halftime and doubled the lead four minutes after the break
“After the first half, we had a lot of confidence because we thought the score didn’t reflect what was going on,” Robertson said. “Then they come out an score early, and I think a few heads went down.”
In the dying minutes of the game, PSUC’s luck worsened as sophomore midfielder Matt Iuorno went down with an apparent leg injury.
“I thought it was a reckless challenge, if I’m honest,” Taylor said. “But [the referee] doesn’t always have the perfect view.”
Taylor hopes a stronger early schedule will prepare the team for the main goal of winning a SUNYAC regular season title.
“I’m here because I want to play the best,” Taylor said. “I’m not scared of losing.”
That objective will be difficult, after the SUNYAC placed three teams in last year’s NCAA tournament.
“When I played, there were certainly a few ‘doormats’ in the league,” Taylor said. “That doesn’t exist anymore.”
The team will play with a new squad of goalkeepers, as Junior Patrick Feeley is no longer on the roster. Taylor believes PSUC will cope, particularly with the addition of sophomore transfer Ryan Wilson.
Despite personnel changes, Taylor does not expect to make any sweeping changes to the style of play the Cards have employed.
“We’ve always been a team that has tried to control games and attack,” Taylor said.
With new faces, but the same style, the Cards will try to get two wins this week.
“We need to let this feed us,” Gula said. “We’re angry, but we forget about the results and move on.”
Email Nathanael LePage at email@example.com