The Setonian

Men’s soccer home opener will prove to be an important barometer

The Seton Hall men’s soccer team has had an exceptional start to the 2018 season thus far. If the exhibition games at the beginning of the schedule counted toward the team’s overall record, the Pirates would currently be 4-1-1 going into Thursday’s home opener.

In his inaugural season in charge, head coach Andreas Lindberg has completely transformed the outlook of a team that lost nine seniors last season, one that features nine new recruits from northern Europe. Lindberg’s reconstructed roster has an evident foreign pipeline.

Many of the Hall’s starts to a season in recent memory have been slow, going under .500, or average.
The last positive season start for the Pirates dates back to 2013, where the team started that campaign unbeaten through four games at 2-0-2. The eventual record of that season did not match how the team opened it, as it finished with more losses than wins at 7-9-2. Although the record may not have reflected it, the 2013 team did well to protect home field, losing only three of the ten games total.
Another similar season to the current one was in 2006, which happens to also be Seton Hall’s last winning season.

The Pirates rattled off six straight victories that season and won seven out of their first eight matches to further the hot start.

In the previous two seasons with positive starts, the Pirates have been apt to getting on the scoreboard. One of the key issues in the past for men’s soccer has been an inefficiency on the offensive side of the ball.

Seton Hall scored multiple goals in all four games to start off the 2006 season. Additionally, the Pirates scored three or more goals in three out of the first four games in 2013. Contrastingly, the past three seasons have gotten off to slow starts in terms of goal scoring. The four-game stretches to open each of those seasons have been identical. All three teams only tallied four goals.

Goalscoring is not the sole indicator of a good team and does not necessarily indicate the success of a team. However, the ability to put the ball into the back of the net aids in the upward development of any squad. Including the exhibition games, 2018’s team has put more than one goal on the board in four out of six matches.
It is obvious that three games are most likely a small sample size and cannot adequately predict the entirety of a 16-game season. The positive is that the team is winning games, and, in the games in which the Pirates lose, they remain competitive until the last whistle blows. If the record does hold substance, this year’s team is on pace to win more games, 10, than the last three years combined.

There are many games still to be played, as Big East Conference play is right around the corner. Thursday night’s home opener can allow the outlook on the season to be positive if the Hall is able to come out the victor.

Evando Thompson can be reached evando.thompson@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @Thompsev.