BOSTON, Mass.—Behind a pair of goals from Wesley Woo and several late fantastic saves from Jeremy Cowham, visiting MIT held off UMass Boston men's soccer 2-1 in both team's 2018 seasons openers Friday night.
MIT 2, UMass Boston 1
(UMass Boston 0-1-0)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Woo gave the Engineers the lead for the second time at 74:58 and MIT's defense and Cowham took over from there.
The senior goalie made three saves in the final 1:13, including stopping UMass Boston senior forward Nick Fontana's (Marshfield, Mass.) chance from six-yards out with less than a second to go.
Fontana, who spent his first three years at Springfield College, scored his first goal as a Beacon in the 71stminute. The senior struck a beautiful shot from the top of the 18 that easily beat Cowham inside the left post.
Fellow newcomer Nilton de Andrade (Fogo, Cape Verde) earned the lone assist on the goal.
In net, UMass Boston junior Omar Castro-Dreher (Woonsocket, R.I.) made five saves, including two great ones to keep the score at 2-1 in the final 20 minutes.
Neither side could gain much traction over the first 40 minutes, with the exception of one great chance by the Beacons. Sophomore Mauricio Martinez (Cali, Colombia) beat Cowham from 30-yards out, but his shot squarely connected with the post and bounced back into the 18-yard box where an Engineer cleared it away.
The visitors grabbed their first lead of the game at 41:49. Ivan Juamulia started the attack from the right wing and sent a soft pass on the turf to Peter Novoa. Novoa slipped a ball from the top of the 18 to Woo just outside the six-yard box and Woo beat an on-rushing Castro-Dreher to make it 1-0.
After a sloppy first five minutes of the second half, the Beacons began to wrestle control of the possession and momentum away from MIT. After a near miss from Gui Barbosa (Saugus, Mass.), Fontana recorded the Beacons' first goal of the season at 70:08.
MIT answered back less than five minutes later. The Engineers started the play on an innocent long clearance that floated into the Beacons end. A UMass Boston player misread the ball and it allowed an Engineer to slip in behind the defense, the Beacons were able to get back into the play, but when a player tried to win the ball he knocked an Engineer to the turf, giving MIT a penalty kick.
Woo calmly stepped up to the penalty spot and sent Castro-Dreher the wrong way for a 2-1 lead at 74:58.
Both teams would have good looks over the next 10 minutes, before the Beacons pushed numbers forward looking for a late equalizer. UMass Boston felt they had a chance for a penalty kick of their own, but the referee did not blow the whistle when Barbosa went down at the top of the 18.
Barbosa had two of the Beacons' best looks of the game-both in the final 73 seconds. On the first shot, Barbosa sent a low hard shot across the turf from right to left that Cowham was able to hang onto with two Beacons bearing down on him. With 15 seconds left, Barbosa unleashed a line drive that Cowham dove across his goal box and made a full-extension parry to keep the score 2-1.
The Beacons weren't through though, as Fontana had one last look. After regaining possession, Edson Marques (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) floated in a ball to the six-yard box for Fontana who's header blasted into the right-shoulder of Cowham just before the clock expired.
BY THE NUMBERS
- With the loss, UMass Boston saw their three-match season opener unbeaten streak snapped (2-0-1).
- Nine UMass Boston players made their Beacons debuts in the contest. Leo Herrera (San Pedro Sula, Honduras), Josh Madden (Milton, Mass.), Nelson Cardoso (São Vicente, Cape Verde) and Gerardo Castaneda (Providence, R.I.) all made their collegiate debuts in the loss.
- MIT improved to 18-0-1 since 2000 in season openers. The Engineers only tie came last season, in a 0-0 double overtime tie at Endicott College.
- The two teams finished tied in shots (18-18) and corner kicks (4-4). The Beacons held a slim 8-7 edge in shots on goals.
UMass Boston will have a quick turnaround, as they travel to Bridgewater State University on Saturday at 5 p.m.