Men’s soccer has gotten the ball rolling early this year, opening up 5-1 through their first six games of the regular season. With one of the easier schedules in all of the Liberty League, the Dutchmen currently sit in an advantageous spot with roughly two-thirds of the schedule remaining.
To start off the year, Union stormed through three home games at College Park Fields, with a goal differential of +9 over their opponents in that span. The first game, a 5-0 rout of Utica College, saw a combination of new and old faces contribute offensively.
Debut goals were tallied by both Salvador Lopez Jr. ’20 (1,2) and Yasin Dombayci ’20 (1). Additionally, the game proved to be a great start to the year for captain Andrew Fontaine ’17, who recorded his first goal and first two assists of the season.
After two more home wins against Sage and SUNY Poly, the Dutchmen headed to the MCLA tournament in North Adams, MA. The first game of the tournament was a rude awakening for Union, one in which they would see their first ranked opponent of the year at UMass-Boston.
The Dutchmen fell behind early, allowing two goals in the first half that gave an end to GK John Weitzman’s ’18 three-game shutout streak to start the year. Union would go on to lose 3-0 and receive their first and only loss of the year to this point. Just a day later in tournament play, however, the Dutchmen bounced back in emphatic fashion against Johnson State College.
The scoring started early on a twelth-minute goal from Ethan Strauss ’18 (2), and didn’t stop after that. After a 4-0 first half blowout, Union showed no mercy with early goals from Connor Horan ’19 (1), Pedram Malakian ’19 (1), and Vincent Oliveto ’18, as well as a first career goal from Nicholas Deluca ’18 (1) to seal the 8-0 victory.
The team’s performance in the match marked the highest margin of victory by Union since the opener of their 2015 campaign, and tied the highest margin of victory in a shutout that the school has had in both men’s and women’s soccer since 2011.
This past Saturday, the Dutchmen returned home for a game against SUNY Canton, with hopes of keeping up their high level of play from the Johnson State match.
After a chippy first half that saw Union take a 1-0 lead on a Fontaine (3) penalty kick, Union began to expose a weak back four for the Canton Kangaroos. Fontaine would go on to record his second goal of the match (4), just after Horan (2) tallied his second goal in as many games. The game was capped off by a rocket into the top corner by Malakian (2), who also recorded goals in consecutive games.
With conference play approaching, the Dutchmen will look to carry their momentum into a stretch of the schedule that will see them play seven of their next eight at home. Union (5-1-0) will next be home against SUNY-New Paltz (3-0-3) on September 27.