Enrique Carrasco, Editor
The La Salle Explorers men’s soccer team secured their first win of the season at their home opener game against St. Francis Brooklyn on Monday, Aug. 30. The first half was significantly slower than the second half, with both teams only making five shots on the goal. At the end of the first half, the score remained 0-0. After starting with the ball in the second half, the Explorers were off to a quick start, with sophomore Justin Brunow firing off three shots to the goal, all of which were stopped by the goalkeeper. The game-winning goal came at minute 74, off the foot of La Salle’s senior forward Nigel Buckley. The assist came from La Salle’s senior midfielder, Isak Sedin. After Sedin managed to sneak a pass past St. Francis Brooklyn’s defender, Buckley was able to get the ball past the goalkeeper and put La Salle up 1-0. When asked about his performance during the game, Sedin commented, “We had a rough first half. I personally wasn’t very happy with my performance. But in the second half with all the people cheering us on, I felt like nothing could stop us. Second half was all us thanks to the great support, and Nigel was just in the right place at the right time, that’s what he does. He’s dangerous.” When asked about the student section, Sedin stated, “The student section was something else, like next level. We wouldn’t have been able to gather ourselves if it were not for that student section … If we have this kind of support at every one of our games, we are going to bring the A-10 championship back home.”
Mitch Foster, a La Salle Explorers graduate goalkeeper, also had an excellent game, only having to make a total of two saves the entire game. Both saves were during crucial moments, helping lead the Explorers to a 1-0 victory over St. Francis. When asked about what helped lead the team to victory, Foster stated, “It was all thanks to Nigel banging that goal…I thought we were better in the second half than the first half, Nigel banged in that one goal to win us the game, it was all we needed.” When questioned about the student section, Foster stated, “[The] student section was great. They helped us out when we needed it, that’s all that matters.” Even when the score was tied, students could be seen proudly cheering on their team and giving them the motivation that they needed to accomplish this victory. It was a sight to behold after months of sporting events with little to no spectators. Other recognizable players in this game included Franc Gamiz Quer, La Salle’s senior defender, and Omari Cotterell, La Salle’s senior forward. Both players combined for a total of three shots, with one shot on goal.
This was a much-needed victory for the Explorer’s men’s team after their defeat against Army in their season opener game where they lost 2-4. With a fifth-year starting goalkeeper and many senior starters, this squad does not lack game day experience. Many of the fans of the team (as well as some players) argue that this will be the year that the Explorers bring the A-10 championship back to North Philadelphia, the chants of which would be heard long after the game had already ended. With their season-ending loss to A-10 rival Massachusetts during the 2020-2021 season, the remaining players are hopeful that they have a lot left to show on the field, and they are ready to prove to their fans they are a serious, championship-worthy team.
St. Francis Brooklyn ended their previous season with a 6-1-3 record. This win serves as motivation to many of the men’s soccer players, showing them that they are a talented team, all while displaying to the fans how much electricity they truly have on the field. With goalkeeper Carlos Mora coming off a season-ending injury in the last season, Coach Thames has been putting more confidence in his underclassmen, such as sophomores Justin Brunow and Cameron Hall. Many underclassmen have shown repeatedly that they have the capability to play at this level, which has made for a strong bench from top to bottom. If things continue down this path, the La Salle Men’s Soccer team is a real contender for the A-10 championship.
Update: On the road, LaSalle suffered from a tough overtime loss to UMBC 3-2. La Salle’s lead scorer was Justin Brunow with one goal and one assist. Sophomore Dominick Bachstein scored one goal. Cameron Hall also is credited with three saves in the net for the night.