NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men’s soccer team deserved a better fate in its home opener against Fairfield. The Bulldogs had a big edge in play but ended up with nothing to show for it.
Jon Clements scored the only goal of the game on a penalty kick midway through the second half as the Stags escaped with a 1-0 victory before a big crowd at Reese Stadium.
The call to award the penalty kick was questionable. Reco McLaren was chasing a ball in the left side of the box that appeared to be heading over the end line when he was taken down.
Clements then calmly stepped up and banged in the penalty kick.
Yale (1-2) had a big edge in shots (13-4) and corner kicks (8-2) in the game.
“It’s disappointing,” said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. “We put them under so much pressure and had them on their back foot.”
Fairfield goalkeeper Joe Martin made a couple of big saves to preserve the victory. The best one came early in the second half. Cameron Kirdzik sent a cross that Martin deflected right to Kevin Michalak at the side of the net. Michalak shot quickly, but Martin recovered to knock it away.
Yale had another chance on the ensuing corner kick, but Peter Jacobson’s shot went high.
Martin later robbed Kirdzik, who got his head on a Henry Albrecht cross.
The Bulldogs continued to apply pressure right up until the final horn. Fairfield was whistled for a foul in a dangerous area in the final minute, but with the clock winding down, Yale had to rush the final attempt, and Martin easily stopped Albrecht’s shot as time expired.
“Our guys are frustrated, but we’ll learn from this and get ready for Lehigh [on Sunday],” Tompkins said.
The Bulldogs play at Lehigh on Sunday at 1 p.m.