Dynamic UAlbany duo score twice each in win
By Carl Straut-Collard
September 11, 2015
The University at Albany men’s soccer team (3-1) cruised to its third-straight victory and shut out in a 4-0 demolition of the University of Massachusetts (0-5) at Bob Ford Field Thursday evening.
Last season’s top two goal scorers, sophomore forward Afonso Pinheiro and junior midfielder Leo Meglar, tallied two goals apiece in the UAlbany’s highest regular season scoring effort in seven years.
“We were dangerous when we really went at [UMass],” said head coach Trevor Gorman. “[Pinheiro and Meglar] are goal scorers and tonight it was their turn to get the goals for us.”
UAlbany opened up the scoring in the 16th minute when Pinherio dribbled past one UMass defender and found the back right of the net on a 20-foot shot assisted by Meglar. The goal, Pinherio’s first of the season, sparked a wave of opportunities throughout the remainder of the first half for the Great Danes.
Four minutes later, Meglar drilled a blistering 25-yard shot that seamed past the UMass goalie Jorge Becerra’s right side to put the Danes up 2-0.
UAlbany’s pressure endlessly exposed the Minutemen’s shaky defense by forcing the ball into dangerous areas of the pitch minute after minute.
Pedro Espindola nearly made it 3-0 in the 29th minute on a rebound shot that was called off sides after the Minutemen failed to clear the ball from in front of the net.
Pinheiro, however, would redeem the Great Danes three minutes later with his second goal of the match—a turnaround snipe inside the right post that officially gave his team a three-goal cushion at half time. It was one of the more impressive goals of the nine he’s scored in his UAlbany career.
Freshman midfielder Carlos Clark took an opportunistic snipe directly at the UMass net in the 33rd minute, but the goalkeeper Becerra just got his hands on it to deflect it away.
UMass’s frustration became evident in the 42nd minute when substitute Samuel Asamoah dove viciously headfirst into a Danes midfielder, earning himself the match’s only yellow card.
The Minutemen were outshot 8-0 in the first 45 minutes of play.
Seven minutes into the second half, Meglar paced down the left wing with space and took a shot from outside the box that soared into the near side of the goal to give the Danes a 4-0 lead.
It was Meglar’s second goal of the game and fourth of the season.
Freshman forward Nico Solabarrieta, a Chilean national youth pool product, located two scoring chances over the final 11 minutes. In the 79th minute, Solabarrieta took a shot from three feet in front of goal that was miraculously saved at the last second. Seven minutes later, he blazed down the middle and took a shot that missed wide left by a foot.
UMass had no answer to the Danes’ onslaught of scoring opportunities. The Minutemen took just its fourth shot of the game in the final minute of play.
UAlbany outshot UMass 14-4 and did not allow a single corner-kick.
“For us to have a little bit of an offensive explosion was a good thing for us after getting two hard-fought victories. To get one that was a little bit more decisive will hopefully build on our confidence,” said Gorman. “We are equally as pleased as to have our third-consecutive shutout.”
After allowing three goals to Villanova in the season-opener, freshman goalkeeper Danny Vitiello needed to make only one save but nonetheless earned his first shutout in just the second collegiate start of his career.
UAlbany has not allowed a goal over its final 273 minutes of play and have won three in a row for the first time since 2012.
In their next game, the Great Danes host Dartmouth at Bob Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 4 p.m.