The St. John’s soccer team opened its season on Monday with a narrow win against St. Joseph’s
They had to brave the frigid temperatures and were surrounded by snow leftover from recent snowstorms, but after 443 days the St. John’s soccer (1-0) team finally completed a competitive game as the Red Storm took down the St. Joseph’s Hawks (0-1) 1-0 in Belson Stadium on Monday afternoon.
The rust on both teams was evident as the game was plagued by some sloppy play at times in the midfield and some less than stellar control from players all over the field that would definitely not be seen in the middle of the season.
Both St. John’s and St. Joesph’s haven’t played in well over a year, so it’s not surprising that both teams weren’t playing its best, particularly the Johnnies.
Throughout the game the Red Storm were just missing that last clean pass as the execution in the final third of the field could have been better.
There were a handful of attacks that with a better pass, could’ve led this game to be opened up to a two or three goal game.
Despite its opening day struggles, the Red Storm dominated the proceedings in the first half forcing St. Joseph’s to sit back and play on the counter-attack.
The Hawks almost struck first as Red Storm goalie Jan Hoffelner was forced into an incredible save off a flicked header about 15 minutes in and then St. Joseph’s Alvin Dahn hit the post on the stroke of halftime.
However, other than those opportunities the Hawks didn’t seriously threaten the St. John’s net for most of this game.
St. John’s soccer led by veteran forward
The Red Storm had two golden opportunities to take the lead in the first half through the Reigning and Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Tani Oluwaseyi.
The junior forward was clean on goal on a through pass from fellow junior Einar Lye, but the effort was saved by St. Joe’s keeper Luis Ludosan.
The Ontario native also had a contested header in the box with three minutes to go in the half, but it didn’t have enough power on it to trouble the Hawks.
In the second half, St. John’s would take advantage of a Hawks giveaway as Brandon Knapp threaded a beautiful pass through the middle to feed Oluwaseyi and this time he wouldn’t miss giving the Red Storm the 1-0 lead and the game-winning goal in the 64th minute.
The goal is Oluwaseyi’s 16th career goal in a Red Storm jersey in 38 games played, he scored a team-leading 11 goals in 2019.
It wasn’t pretty at times, but the better teams usually get it done even if they aren’t playing their best and the Red Storm did so today.
After getting their season off to a good start the Red Storm will take on NJIT (0-0) on Saturday at 5:00pm EST in Belson Stadium.