September 23, 2016 by Christopher Markowitz
After a thrilling 3-2 overtime win against Temple University Sept. 13, the Drexel University men’s soccer team lost 2-0 in back-to-back games to Northeastern University Sept. 17 and Princeton University Sept. 20.
The Dragons 2-0 loss at Vidas Field to the Princeton Tigers this past Tuesday marked the fourth time this season in just seven games in which Drexel didn’t score.
Early in their match against the Tigers, it appeared as if the Dragons were bound to break through the Princeton defense for a score. Towards the end of the tenth minute, Drexel freshman defender Eden Ben Hemo struck a powerful header, off of a free-kick, towards the Princeton goal. However, the shot traveled directly to the hands of Princeton’s senior keeper Josh Haberman and was deflected away for a save.
In the nineteenth minute, the Dragons had another chance to take an early lead when junior midfielder Colin McGlynn, who led Drexel in scoring last season, got behind the Princeton defense and had only the keeper to beat. McGlynn rifled his shot past Haberman, but it traveled wide ride and clanked off of the right goal post before sputtering back towards the Princeton defense.
The early missed opportunities would come back to hurt the dragons. Princeton broke the scoreless tie in the forty-first minute when Mark Romanowski assisted Henry Martin for a goal in the middle of a scrum in Drexel’s goalie box. Martin’s goal would be the only one of the first half for either team.
At the start of the second half, Drexel came out strong in search of an equalizing goal. In the 47th minute, McGlynn put a shot on target, but it was once again saved by Haberman. Then in the 53rd minute, Hemo got another opportunity to head-in a free kick, but his shot traveled wide right and missed the goal.
Princeton doubled its lead in the fifty-seventh minute when Nicholas Badalamenti scored off of an assist by Bryan Windsor’s corner kick.
McGlynn had a chance to cut the deficit in half with a header in the 59th minute, but Haberman was able to once again come up with a save to keep his clean-sheet in tact.
Drexel junior Dakota Peterson attempted a shot in the sixty-second minute, but it traveled wide and out of play. Peterson’s miss was the Dragon’s final shot attempt of the day as Princeton was able to contain the Drexel offense for the final 28 minutes of the game.
With the loss to Princeton, Drexel fell to 1-4-2 on the season. However, it was a non-conference matchup for the Dragons, so they did not lose any ground in the Colonial Athletic Association standings.
The only conference game the Dragon’s have played in thus far was a 2-0 loss on the road to the Northeastern Huskies Sept. 17.
Similar to their game against the Tigers, the Dragon’s had two opportunities early in the game against the Huskies to take the lead. In the twelfth minute, Drexel sophomore Armin Efendic struck a shot wide of the goal. Then in the fourteenth minute, Colin McGlynn headed a shot on target towards the goal, but Northeastern’s keeper Jonathan Thuresson came up with a save to keep the Dragons off the scoreboard.
In the eighteenth minute, Northeastern’s Christian Mckenna scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 1-0 lead. The Huskies would add to their lead in the 41st minute when Ackim Mpofu found the back of the net off an assist from Brendan Massie.
Despite trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Dragon’s came out in the second half and slightly outplayed the Huskies. Drexel managed one more shot and two more corner kicks than Northeastern on the second half. However, the Dragon’s were unable to find the nylon on any of their shot attempts and the Huskies held their 2-0 until the final whistle.
With the loss, Drexel fell to 0-1 in the CAA standings.
The back-to-back scoreless losses were particularly disappointing for the Dragon’s considering the offensive output they were able to produce in their 3-2 overtime victory over Philadelphia Soccer Six rival Temple.
Heading into their game against the Temple Owls, the Dragons were 0-2-2 and still in search of their first victory of the season.
In front of a solid home crowd, the Dragon’s got off to a shaky start and allowed Temple’s Jorge Gomez Sanchez to score in the fourth minute of the game.
However, the Dragon’s rallied to tie the game in the seventeenth minute when Colin McGlynn scored his first goal of the season off of an assist by freshman Xavier Hernandez.
Then in the twenty-ninth minute, Drexel sophomore Ilai Shvika struck a volley from a few yards in front of the Temple goal and placed a shot just inside of the right post to give the Dragon’s a 2-1 lead.
Drexel’s lead was short lived. In the thirty-sixth minute, Gomez Sanchez would score again off of an assist from Joonas Jokinen to tie the game 2-2.
Armin Efendic was able to put a shot on goal for Drexel in the forty-fifth minute, but Temple’s keeper Alex Cagle corralled for a save and preserved the 2-2 tie.
In the second half, the Dragon’s moved the ball well offensively but were unable to convert with a goal. However, neither was Temple.
The Owl’s threatened to take the lead in the eighty-fifth minute, but Tyler Afflerbach kept the Dragon’s hopes alive by saving two shots just seconds apart from one another. Afflerbach deflected away a shot from Temple’s Kevin Klett, but the ball ricocheted to Klett’s teammate Albert Moreno. With cat-like reflexes, Afflerbach was able to recover in time to send away Moreno’s attempt and keep the tie intact.
With both teams even at 2-2 by the end of the 90 minutes of regulation time, the game went into a sudden victory overtime. Temple had the ball first, but was unable to convert on three shot attempts within the first six minutes of overtime.
In the ninety-seventh minute, the Xavier Hernandez led a breakaway for the Dragon’s. Hernandez sent a pass towards the left side of the penalty box ahead of a cutting Colin McGlynn who beat his defender to the ball, took one dribble, then delivered a cross on the ground in front of the goal to freshman Carlos Cuevas.
“I saw my midfielder Chavy (Xavier Hernandez), he got the ball. Colin, he just ran up the field. Chavy played a great ball, I saw open space in the middle of the field, he crossed it in. It was right in front of the goal,” Cuevas said Sept. 13.
Wide open upon receiving the pass, Cuevas buried the ball into the back of the net and scored his first career goal while simultaneously giving the Dragon’s their first win of the season.
“It feels amazing. I’m just, I’m speechless right now. It was a crazy game. We had a great crowd out today, and I just have no words. I’m speechless,” Cuevas said.
Having come back to win after trailing Temple 1-0, the Dragons pulled off their first come-from-behind victory since Oct. 15, 2014 when they beat James Madison University 2-1 at home in overtime.
The Dragon’s will be back in action 7 p.m. Sept. 24 when they take a short road trip to play the University of Pennsylvania in their final Philadelphia Soccer 6 matchup of the season.