COLUMBUS, OH - The Shattuck-St. Mary’s Boys U18DA soccer team traveled to Ohio this past weekend to take on Columbus Crew and the Internationals.
SSM started slowly in Saturday’s game against the Columbus Crew, which allowed Columbus a chance to take the lead. From a free kick, the Sabre defense was unable to deal with a driven ball into the penalty area and the Crew’s Devyn Etling reacted first to head the ball past goalkeeper Jaylen Davila-Smith ‘17.
SSM responded well though, as both Istvan Wilhelms ‘17 and Mitch Hammer ‘17 came close with chances to equalize.
The second half was vastly different as SSM pressed, looking for an equalizer. Again, Hammer was able to get into a good position, but his shot missed high. Substitute Jonah Kagen ‘18 also had a half chance which the Crew defenders managed to deflect into the goalkeeper's hands.
It was from this position, however, that Columbus added a second goal. After distributing wide, a long ball into the box looked like it should be comfortably dealt with between Davila-Smith and defender John Curran ‘17. However, under pressure from the always active Etling, Curran was unable to fully clear, providing the forward with an easy tap-in from close range.
SSM changed formations and went to a 3-4-3, adopting a more direct style of play. With 20 minutes to go, the Sabres were rewarded when, following a direct free kick from Hammer, Jacob Gutierrez ‘17 rose at the back post to record his first goal of the season. A quick answer by Crew, however, put the Sabres down by two and an eventual 3-1 loss.
Looking to capture important league points, Sunday’s game against the Internationals was most timely for the Sabres. Five changes were made to the side which started against Columbus Crew. Captain Alessandro Milesi ‘18 returned after a one game suspension, Andre Wangard ‘18 started in goal having been away with the Nicaraguan national team, Jack Hickey ‘18 replaced John Curran ‘17, and Zach Gedal ‘18 and Carlos Soto Merchan ‘17 started in wide positions.
Once again, it took a while for SSM to settle into the game and although the Internationals created little of real consequence to trouble Wangard, of concern was that their amount of possession in the midfield. However, following a series of patient passes in midfield, Wilhelms took off on a typically penetrating run before releasing Logan Sullivan ‘18 to score his 15th of the season.
The goal served to settle nerves for the players and gradually more chances were created. The best of these occurred in the 43rd minute, when Hickey, who had pushed forward, found Sullivan with a slick reverse pass at the top of the penalty area. All alone, Sullivan was able to draw the goalkeeper and push the ball through him only to see it curl on the wrong side of the post.
The second half was largely a tepid affair until the combination of Wilhelms to Sullivan gave the Sabres a two goal cushion. Wilhelms battled through the midfield under constant pressure and was able to find Sullivan cutting behind the back line. Sullivan did the rest and calmly slotted the ball beyond an advancing keeper. SSM was able to close out the game 2-0 and get a valuable three points.
The win takes the Sabres back above Columbus Crew in the standings and level on points with Chicago Fire.
SSM will begin a six-game homestand on Saturday, April 8 as they take on St. Louis Scott Gallagher - Metro.