The No. 16 Georgetown men’s soccer team (5-1-3, 1-0-0 Big East) won its Big East opener Saturday, defeating Butler University (4-3-3, 0-0-1 Big East) 2-0 in Indianapolis, Ind. The Hoyas outshot the Bulldogs 21-7, calling upon senior goalkeeper and captain Tomas Gomez to make just two saves the entire game.
Those impressive statistics, combined with two clutch goals from junior forward Brandon Allen in the last 11 minutes of play, secured an important road conference victory.
Entering the match, however, a positive outcome seemed less certain to Head Coach Brian Wiese, because of less-than-ideal playing conditions at the Butler Bowl stadium.
“I thought the guys handled the situation really well,” Wiese said. “The football lines were all over the field, the lacrosse lines are all over the field and it is an older field so the ball is more bouncy. That is something that you have to manage.”
Despite the difficult conditions, Allen thrived. The star forward is tied for fourth in Division I soccer with seven goals in just nine games, and has scored on nearly 22 percent of the shots he has taken this season. Allen also converted Georgetown’s first penalty kick of the year after a Butler defender dragged him down in the box in the 79th minute. Allen then put the game out of reach in the 89th minute when he put a pass from sophomore forward Alex Muyl in the back of the net.
“As soon as [Allen] stepped foot on campus as a freshman he has been [scoring goals],” Wiese said. “He is as sharp as he has ever been in terms of his ability to finish the chances he gets. … He is just very dangerous.”
The Hoyas earned their fourth shutout of the season, but had to do so without junior defender Cole Seiler. Seiler picked up a leg injury Sept. 7 in a 4-1 win over Wisconsin. He had not missed a minute since that game, but Wiese decided to rest the centerback in favor of senior defender Jared Rist, who played all 90 minutes in the win over Butler. His performance in his second career start was impressive enough to earn him Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors.
“[Seiler] could have played last night if we needed him, but we thought that [we needed] to get him healthy. It is a long season, and we want to get him back up to full health, if at all possible. The fact that we have someone of [Rist’s] quality to put in makes it an easy decision for us,” Wiese said.
While a senior earned the call to replace Seiler, the team’s youngest members have also seen significant playing time in the last several games. Freshman midfielder Arun Basuljevic got the first start of his career and split playing time with fellow freshman midfielder Christopher Lema in the center of the park, next to senior midfielder and captain Tyler Rudy.
Freshman forward Declane McCabe has also worked his way into the crowded Georgetown offense, coming on as a substitute for Muyl in two consecutive games. McCabe was on the field when Georgetown scored its first goal, and Muyl soon re-entered the pitch to assist the second Hoyas score in the waning moments. Georgetown will play one nonconference game Tuesday before returning to Big East play, against the University of Maryland. The two teams last met in an instant-classic NCAA College Cup semifinal match in 2012, when Georgetown defeated Maryland on penalty kicks after the second overtime ended with the game tied at 4-4. Allen scored in the game, and a large number of current Hoyas participated in that victory.
This year’s Maryland team, however, has not has the success it expected entering the season. The Terrapins are 3-3-2 and have fallen out of the Top 25 rankings after losses to Louisville, Navy and Michigan State. Despite a slow start for the opponents, Wiese is still excited to play one of the top programs in the area.
“The reason it is on the schedule is because we want to put together a season and a schedule that is exciting for us to play in and that will benefit us long term and this is an RPI game,” Wiese said. “Maryland has held court for a while now … so it is a fun challenge to look forward to.”
Kick-off at Ludwig Field in College Park, Md., is set for 7 p.m.