Mens Soccer fights back to tie CCSU
By Celia Balf
September 22, 2015
University at Albany men’s soccer team (3-2-1) fought for 110 minutes against Central Connecticut State (2-3-1) for 2-2 draw at Bob Ford Field Saturday night. The Great Danes were down most of the game, however sophomore Afonso Pinheiro scored two goals on the night.
There is a reason the UAlbany men’s soccer team breaks records when it comes to filling the bleachers: they have the ability to go down a goal and respond with flare and class. A lot of this flare comes from Co-Rookie-of-the-Year, Pinheiro on the front line.
The Great Danes went down a goal just three minutes into the game off of a deflection in the six-yard box. CCSU’s Ryan Taylor got the goal, and just like that the Great Danes were down 1-0. The response, however, was that of class.
Great Dane midfielder, Pedro Espindola, took the ball down the flank beating several CCSU players to find Pinheiro central. Pinheiro did what he knows best, and buried the ball to the tie the game up 1-1 about 10 minutes into the first half.
“It feels great to help the team by scoring in a tough match,” Pinheiro said.
Pinheiro said that since the beginning of the season the mentality of the team was to always stick together, no matter the adversities.
Adversity came in the minute 17 when a CCSU counter lead the Blue Devils to another goal for the 2-1 lead. The Blue Devils got a penalty kick and the shot went far right while Great Dane keeper, Danny Vitiello, dove left.
The Great Danes continued to find momentum forward after the half with lots of fresh legs rotating through their offense.
“We added some great players to our program this year,” Pinheiro said.“Nico and Moosah came to create an instant impact to our group. Our attacking players are really dangerous and that gives our coach a lot of options.”
Nico Solabarrieta and Moosah Khanat have seen a lot of time for the Great Danes, and Saturday it was apparent. Solabarrieta and Khanat add depth to the front line and brought about several chances in the first and second half to equalize the game. Leo Melgar, a junior, was also active in both halves, but saw his best opportunity in the 62nd minute only to be saved by CCSU keeper, Nick Velleca.
As the end of the second half approached, the Great Danes were dominating the possession of play. Pinheiro found the ball end line and beat his defender for a near-sided shot past Velleca to tie the game up, 2-2.
“I feel like the team responded really well from being down twice in the game showing a good effort to get the result,” Pinheiro said. The Great Danes just finished up three-game home field portion of the season (1-1-1) and will pack up to travel to Lafayette to play Tuesday.
“We look forward to bouncing back on Tuesday,” Pinheiro said about the result, “and for our following games away from home. The most important thing is that we stick together, and then we will have success for sure.”
Sticking together through adversity seems to be a theme for the Great Danes, and their fans stand by them for it. Several injuries this season have made the team put a lot of responsibility in their younger players, and it is clear the response has been well all over the field.
“Being one-third of the way through the season, teams are going to know what we do well. Central Connecticut State certainly jumped on us early, and we have to stop conceding quick goals,” head coach Trevor Gorman said. “I’m proud of our guys for fighting back from a deficit twice, but now we need to really execute to win with games coming up on the road.”
The Great Danes lead the game in shots, 25-1 and corners 8-1 and look to improve their season on the road next week.