The Owls were less than two minutes away from their third draw of the season.
But a Conner Lachenbruch penalty kick in the closing stages of the second overtime period allowed Yale to claim its first victory of the season, handing Temple a 1-0 loss at Reese Stadium in New Haven, Connecticut Tuesday night.
Even though the Bulldogs had failed to win a match before Tuesday, coach David MacWilliams said it doesn’t matter what caliber of team his squad plays at this point in the fall.
“Every team is a tough game,” MacWilliams said. “[Yale] played with a lot of heart, a lot of fire, and every game’s a tough game for us now.”
The same problems that have been a problem for MacWilliams’ team throughout the year occurred again tonight, from not finishing off scoring opportunities to allowing opponents to score in the beginning and end of halves—or in this case, giving up the game-winner in overtime.
Yale appeared to have dominated the match when looking at the statistics, especially considering Bulldogs senior goalie Blake Brown only had to face one shot on target, while Temple senior goalie Dan Scheck made eight saves out of nine shots on goal.
MacWilliams said the reason why Yale outshot Temple by a total of 18-10 was their direct style of play throughout the match.
“[Yale] had a lot of corner kicks, and they knocked a lot of balls in the box,” MacWilliams said. “They play pretty direct … which means they’re going to get opportunities from knock-downs, headers … they’re a pretty good-sized team up top, so they did a pretty good job of getting balls in the box.”
But MacWilliams also said many of Yale’s opportunities came from wide angles, allowing Scheck to make some easy saves. Beside allowing the game-deciding penalty kick, MacWilliams felt his defense performed well during most of the match.
Offensively, the Owls struggled to find a rhythm in the opening half, as Yale was able to apply heavy pressure from the start. MacWilliams said some halftime adjustments led to a better performance from his attackers after the halftime intermission.
“[Yale] squeezed us in one half of the field, and we don’t have range,” MacWilliams said. “We keep trying to play short passes through instead of switching the point of attack. We adjusted in the second half, and I thought we played much better.”
Overall, MacWilliams noted there might have been a lack of intensity from his guys tonight, which led to their ninth loss of the year.
“We continue to play soccer like [we’re practicing] in the Pavilion,” MacWilliams said. “Versus on the field in a game situation.”
The Owls failed to capitalize on some quality chances in overtime. Freshman forward Olli Tynkkynen was denied his fourth goal of the year and a possible game-winner when his shot struck the post in the opening half of the second overtime period.
Another scoring opportunity came earlier in the match when sophomore midfielder Dan White headed a ball off the crossbar in the 79th minute. No one was able to jump on a rebound, and Yale eventually made Temple pay later on in the closing minutes of overtime.
MacWilliams said this issue boils down to a lack of offensive output from anybody on his team up to this point.
“We don’t have enough guys who are able to score right now,” MacWilliams said.
Looking at the game-deciding penalty kick decision given by referee Tony Russo, MacWilliams said he would have to see the game film to decide whether it was a far call or not.
With the loss, the Owls continue to struggle on the road, and have yet to win a match away from Ambler through six games this fall.
The struggles, which in part are due to an young team without much experience, has led this season to be one of the most frustrating for MacWilliams up to this point.
“It’s one of the most frustrating years I’ve ever had in coaching,” MacWilliams said. “We’re a young team, we’re making mistakes … We’ve allowed those mistakes to compound, and it makes it difficult.”
Temple travels to Cincinnati on Saturday to face the Bearcats, a team the Owls defeated at Ambler on Sept. 27 by a score of 2-0.
MacWilliams said his team’s struggles this year have not been from a lack of effort, but rather a failure to execute on the field.
“We just have to keep pushing forward,” MacWilliams said. “It wasn’t like the guys weren’t giving an effort, we’re just coming up short in finishing and coming up short in mental mistakes.”
Lachenbruch’s penalty conversion was the senior midfielder’s first goal of the season … Temple edged Yale in corner kicks by a count of 7-6 … junior midfielder/forward Jared Martinelli recorded the lone shot on goal for Temple … This is the second OT loss due to a penalty kick against Temple this year (at Fordham Sept. 17) The Owls drop to 2-9-2 while the Bulldogs move to 1-8-2.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.