St. John’s soccer narrowly loses home opener to national-ranked FIU.
Monday night featured the St. John’s soccer team hosting No.18 Florida International University for its 2022 home opener.
A good crowd and beautiful weather surrounded Belson Stadium for a matchup rich with history, especially for the Red Storm.
The two teams had not faced off since 2004, a 2-1 St. John’s loss in Miami, but this was also a rematch of the 1996 National Championship Game, won by St. John’s by a 4-1 scoreline.
St. John’s came into the game with some lingering injuries on key players including All-Big East caliber midfielder Einar Lye. Injuries, plus some selection calls, led head coach Dr. Dave Masur to field a very young lineup for the Red Storm.
Despite fielding a much more inexperienced side, the Red Storm dominated the play outshooting FIU 15-3, and 6-3 in shots on goal.
St. John’s came so close on several occasions including this first half free kick by senior Atila Ashrafi:
FIU goalkeeper Kevin Harr came up with some big time stops to prevent St. John’s from getting back into the game, including a great reaction save in the second half on a close-range shot by forward Wesley Legett:
FIU got the lone goal on a beautiful free kick by midfielder Julian Hodek in the 26th minute and the Panthers would hold on for the rest of the game to get the road win.
St. John’s soccer biggest takeaways in defeat
While St. John’s can take plenty of encouragement for creating so many chances and controlling most of the play being such a young team that was fielded against a Top-20 ranked side, the Johnnies are 0-2 on the season.
They will need to get 2022 going and start getting some wins as the non-conference schedule only gets tougher with a trip to Indiana, which made the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2021, and are traditionally a strong opponent.
The Johnnies will also host Loyola Maryland, which made the NCAA Tournament last season, next weekend.
First the Red Storm will stick around in Queens for a matchup with Lehigh on Friday at 5:00pm, part of a doubleheader with the women’s team which will kick off a matchup with Navy at 8:00pm.