The No. 10 Georgetown men’s soccer team (8-2-1, 3-1-0 Big East) fell to No. 19 Duke (10-2-1, 3-2 ACC), 2-1, on Monday afternoon at Shaw Field. Overall, the game was very tight with opportunities for both sides, but Duke eventually prevailed thanks to a 67th minute go-ahead goal from freshman forward Daniel Wright. Blue Devils senior midfielder Brian White also scored to help sink the Hoyas. Freshman forward Derek Dodson was able to net a goal for the Hoyas, his fifth of the year.
This was a big Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) game for both sides in a matchup of two top-20 teams, but its significance is limited as the two teams are not in the same conference. Duke still sits in third place in the Coastal Division of the ACC, while Georgetown remains atop the Big East standings. The loss did, however, end Georgetown’s unbeaten streak at home, dropping them to 6-1-0 at Shaw on the year.
“It’s a great out of conference test for us,” Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “Obviously, we’re disappointed not to take advantage of the RPI bump and all of the things a good result would have given us.”
For the first twenty minutes, Georgetown held most of the possession and had several opportunities to score. In the third and seventh minutes, senior midfielder Declan McCabe had chances in the penalty box, but was unable to get his shots on goal. In the fourth minute, freshman midfielder Jacob Montes went down in the box after making contact with a Duke defender, but was not awarded a penalty. The Hoyas did most of their attacking with through balls down the wings, followed by crosses into the penalty box.
Shortly after, Duke began to settle down and started producing scoring chances of their own. In the 25th minute, Duke sophomore midfielder Jack Doran served in a cross from the left side. Brian White was able to beat his defender and converted a beautiful header into the bottom left corner, just out of the reach of Georgetown junior keeper JT Marcinkowski’s dive. The header raised White’s season total to eight goals, and was his second in as many games.
The Hoyas remained composed after conceding, but still struggled to put the ball in the net for the rest of the half. Montes was skillful in the middle of the field, and sophomore midfielder Davey Mason used his pace and ball skills to cut down the wings. But the Hoyas continued to be sloppy in front of the goal. They had several chances to score that resulted in shots that went wide or over the net. The defense, however, was strong and kept the ball out of its own third for the most part.
In the second half, Georgetown made a few significant changes to the lineup, including the insertion of freshman defender Chris Le, who started the half at left back. This was a bit of a surprise considering Le’s very limited playing time to this point in the season, but he did not disappoint. He was instrumental in creating several more scoring chances with some terrific through balls and crosses, one of which resulted in a goal. By the 66th minute, the Hoyas had been knocking on Duke’s door and it seemed inevitable that they would break through. Le played a ball down the left side which was crossed in towards sophomore defender Dylan Nealis. Nealis took a ferocious shot right at Duke’s freshman goalkeeper Will Pulisic, who was able to fend it off. But unfortunately for Pulisic, the ball landed at the feet of Derek Dodson who slotted it away in the bottom right corner.
The euphoria lasted briefly though, as the Hoyas were caught off guard just 69 seconds later. Daniel Wright took a through ball from just past midfield all the way down the left wing by himself, beating several defenders and slotting a low shot into the net at the far post.
“It’s always frustrating when you’ve fought the whole time after they scored the first goal,” junior midfielder and team captain Brendan McDonough said. “We got the equalizer and had some good momentum with the fans behind us. But then we made a sloppy mistake and they scored again and it was the same thing [as playing from behind earlier].”
“That was a bad goal from our point of view,” Wiese said. “From a coaching point of view, I probably needed to make a couple of changes quicker… There was also a chain reaction of about four bad decisions and now we’re down 2-1.”
Unfortunately for the Blue and Gray, opportunities for the remainder of the game werre sparse. They were unable to create any more legitimate scoring chances, and the Blue Devils effectively killed time to walk out of D.C. with a victory.
The game was a frustrating one for the Hoyas. They outshot Duke 19-8, as well as nine shots on target compared to Duke’s five. The team also missed its leading goalscorer, sophomore forward Achara, who is out with an undisclosed leg injury.
The Hoyas will have to bounce back, as they face Villanova (6-6-0, 2-2-0 Big East) at Talen Energy Stadium, home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union FC, on Friday in a crucial Big East matchup.
“The Big East is the most important thing,” McDonough said. “It’s a totally different battle. Luckily, we’ve had a good two games against Nova these past few years and we’re looking to keep that momentum going into Friday.”
“We’re playing a team that, I think, is maybe underrated. I think we have an old enough team that we’ll be okay [mentally]. Friday feels like a long way away, but it’s only three days. Recovery is going to be the biggest thing,” said Wiese.
Friday’s game will kick off at 7:00 pm.