After an emphatic 3-1 victory over Fordham on Tuesday night, Seton Hall is one of the only four Big East teams with an undefeated home record this season.
Since the conclusion of this summer’s renovations to Owen T. Carroll Field, the Pirates have produced impressive wins over Big East rivals DePaul and Creighton. Despite playing the match at the Red Bull Training Facility, Seton Hall’s 6-0 win over Central Connecticut State was the first non-conference home win of its 2019 season. The Pirates’ next five matches were played away from home, but it is clear that Andreas Lindberg’s side is as happy as ever to be back playing in front of their own fans.
Tuesday’s win over Fordham not only marked their fourth consecutive win on home soil, but it also kept the Pirates on track to have one of their best home records in the last 10 seasons. The Pirates have only hit this milestone on three occasions over that time span and last saw their record finish above .500 back in 2013.
Improvements across the board as well as an improved atmosphere at home games have all played immense roles in Lindberg’s team’s success so far at home.
Love Fredriksson and Nathan Tremonti have been stalwarts at the back while goalkeeper Andreas Nota continues to stake his claim as Big East’s best shot-stopper.
Tremonti’s one-on-one defending on the right flank has been pivotal to killing off opposing counter attacks, and his sheer size has proven useful when defending set pieces. Likewise, Fredriksson has been nearly unbeatable both in the air and in one-on-one defending situations down the center of the field.
His leadership over a relatively young squad has also helped turned what would have seemingly been a leaky defensive structure into the fourth best defensive unit in the Big East. Nota has also emerged as a leader on the field for the Pirates, and his knack for jaw-dropping saves consistently inspire his side to play at their highest level.
Freshmen Andrea Borg, Eden O’Leary and James Boote are all excelling in the midfield as well. Borg’s dynamism and fleet-footed ball control down either flank has allowed Seton Hall to expand the game and create goal scoring opportunities from wide positions. Both O’Leary and Boote have proven to be workhorses in the center of the park, providing extra support to the offense and dropping into their defensive positions when needed in transition.
Up top, Carlton McKenzie and Stephen Elias have a combined six goals and three assists after nine games. Elias, like Borg, is an explosive presence in the front line capable of getting in behind the defense or losing his mark in the box to latch onto balls served in from the wings. McKenzie’s towering figure gives Seton Hall a more direct approach in the attack. His hold-up play opens space for his supporting cast to expose the pockets of space between the middle and final thirds of the field. The Englishman’s footwork is also remarkably tidy given his immense size as exemplified by his goal against Fordham.
Perhaps the most under-the-radar improvement that has made Owen T. Carroll Field a difficult away ground to play in is the growing support for the team. A rowdy but welcomed crowd of supporters have shown out in numbers over the first few home games with original chants for the team, individual players and even Coach Lindberg. It is an unprecedented positive change in the gameday atmosphere for the men’s soccer team but one that will undoubtedly make it all the more enjoyable for each player to give their all in every match.
Justin Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.