Late UMBC goal prevents Men’s Soccer win
By Carl Straut-Collard
The University at Albany men’s soccer team (3-6-6) came within 2:58 of a 1-0 win on Saturday night at Bob Ford Field before UMBC’s (6-4-3) senior forward Kay Banjo scored the game-tying goal in the 88th minute, pushing the match into a scoreless overtime and resulting in a 1-1 tie.
The beginning of the match started off slow for both sides. Neither team really established themselves until the 15th minute of play when UAlbany’s Leo Melgar ripped a shot that UMBC goalkeeper Billy Heavner saved with ease. UMBC’s attack immediately followed down the pitch to find midfielder Malcolm Harris on the counter. Harris received a ball from the right wing and took a shot that missed high over the net.
In the 22nd minute UAlbany once again found Melgar in the middle, who spun around then took a shot that also did not miss by much over the net. The Danes found the back of the net 13 minutes later when forward Ivan Martinez was tripped up in the box while pursing the line towards the net, giving UAlbany a penalty kick. Melgar took the penalty kick, drilling home a line drive into the left side of the net while the UMBC goalkeeper dove the other way.
Melgar’s third goal of the year put the Danes up 1-0 with 10 minutes left in the first half. At the end of 45 minutes, UAlbany was outshot 6-3 to UMBC, but still held the slim lead at home.
To open the second half, UMBC, who had been trailing since the 35th minute of play, came out swinging for the first 15 minutes. The Danes defense was put on its heels as UMBC pressed forward to try an even the score line. The amount of shots increased for the Retrievers during their opening second half surge but the opportunities to finish came far and in between.
UMBC’s three-headed monster in Malcolm Harris, Kay Banjo, and Geaton Caltabiano were responsible for 16 of UMBC’s 21 total shots in the match. Harris took four shots with two on goal while Banjo also took four with only one reaching net. Caltabiano, on the other hand, played in a world of his own as he dominated the Danes with eight shots and four on goal.
UMBC tallied 12 second half shots while the Danes also continued to pick up the offensive rhythm with eight shots of their own in the last 45.
Due to another UMBC offensive push towards the end of the 90, the Retrievers banked in on Caltabiano’s cross to Banjo in the 88th minute after getting multiple looks. Banjo’s game-tying score sent the game into overtime, where both sides found chances but couldn’t finish.
“It’s frustrating to lose a lead so late in a game when you’ve worked hard for eighty-seven minutes and you’ve earned the lead and then you’re trying to protect it,” said UAlbany head coach Trevor Gorman. “The nature of our sport is when you’re protecting a lead, you sink in. UMBC showed why they’ve won the league three of the last four years.”
The tie was not the result UAlbany was hoping for, as Gorman said, “It stings to not get there but I’m really proud of the effort the guys put in tonight.”
The Great Danes will look for three points against Stony Brook next Friday at Bob Ford Field at 7 p.m. in their next America East conference matchup.