Soccer drops two straight, snaps winning streak
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 21:10
Coming off a tough loss midweek at Northeastern, the Delaware men’s soccer team had been looking to bounce back with a win over conference rival Drexel Saturday night at Delaware Mini-Stadium. That was not to be, as the team dropped its second straight match and first home game of the season in a 2-1 loss to the Dragons.
Coach Ian Hennessy said the team looked sluggish.
“Maybe it was the trip to James Madison in Virginia and the trip to Northeastern, but the legs were a little bit heavy tonight,” Hennessy said. “I didn’t think we played particularly well.”
The team started the match strong, dominating possession and getting off three quality shots in the first 10 minutes of the half. Drexel sat back and soaked up the pressure, however, and in the 19th minute, midfielder Michele Pataia put the Dragons ahead. Collecting a pass from his own half, Pataia had a breakaway down the left side of the field. Cutting inside, he fired the shot far post past junior goalkeeper Borja Barbero to give the visiting team the 1-0 lead.
The momentum seemed to turn in favor of the Drexel for the rest of the half, as Delaware struggled to complete passes and maintain possession. Barbero’s impressive kick save on a late Drexel shot kept the Hens from falling any further behind before halftime.
Still, Delaware’s tired play continued in the second half, allowing the Dragons to once again control the game. Bad giveaways and sloppy passing would eventually cost the Hens, who wound up giving up their second goal of the night in the 68th minute, thanks to a strong shot by Drexel midfielder Nathan Page.
However, the home team battled back and responded with a goal of its own just three minutes later. Senior defender Prince Nartey played a through ball into the box for freshman striker Guillermo Delgado. With a deft touch, Delgado slotted the ball past the Drexel keeper from seven yards out to cut the Dragons’ lead in half.
“It was a matter of taking the space at the right moment,” Delgado said of the goal, his 11th of the season, which ties the Delaware single-season record for a freshman.
Despite the goal, the momentum never quite swung back in Delaware’s favor, as the team continued to give the Dragons quality chances in front of the net. A bad giveaway in the back allowed a Drexel striker a one-on-one opportunity with Barbero. Fortunately for the Blue Hens, his shot flew over the crossbar.
Minutes later, another costly turnover in the midfield gave the Dragons a golden opportunity in the box. The Drexel striker’s shot ricocheted off the post to a teammate, whose subsequent attempt was saved by Barbero.
The game came down to the wire, though, as Delaware managed some quality attacks in the final moments of the match. A 90th minute corner kick that was saved by the Drexel goalkeeper proved to be the Hens’ last chance. The loss, their second in a row, drops Delaware to 10-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Senior defender Mark Garrity said he felt like the result let the crowd down.
“Obviously, it’s a tough one for us,” Garrity said. “We like coming and playing out here, and we don’t usually lose on this field, especially with all these fans out here. It’s a tough result for us.”
The Blue Hens will look to get back on track tomorrow when they return to the field to take on Howard at Delaware Mini Stadium at 7:00 p.m.
Garrity said the team will have to perform better to get the season back on track.
“What’s going to define our season is how we bounce back from these last two games,” Garrity said. “We just met up in the huddle. A lot of frowns, a lot of sad faces, so I told them remember this feeling of tonight and of the last game. We’ve just got to work hard so we don’t experience this feeling again.”