BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's soccer team was tested, but escaped Brooklyn with a 2-1 victory on the road over the Medgar Evers College (MEC) Cougars Saturday afternoon on the Kingsborough Community College Soccer Field. Sophomore Hayden Burbank (Southington, Conn.) factored in both goals for the Blue Jays to lead USJ to victory. With the win, the Blue Jays improve to 2-0-0 to start the season while the Cougars dip to 0-3-0.
The Blue Jays got on the board early with a pair of goals in the first half and would hang on for the victory. Sophomore Matt Lombardo (West Hartford, Conn.) took a throw-in along the sideline and tossed it to freshman midfielder Michael Torres (Hartford, Conn.) who was unmarked and wide open just in front of him. Torres carried the ball in space and slipped a brilliant diagonal through ball to a charging Burbank who made an unnoticed run from midfield. Burbank collected and with his left foot slipped a shot uncontested past MEC's sophomore goalkeeper Carl-Henry Obeissant (Jérémie, Haiti) into the bottom left corner of the net to give USJ an early advantage, 1-0, in the 26th minute.
The Blue Jays would strike again quickly just three minutes later to push their lead to 2-0 in the 29th minute. Burbank would be involved again as he dribbled down the field past two Cougars' defenders and squared the ball across the 18-yard box to freshman Joel Agbetossou (Hartford, Conn.). With just the MEC keeper to beat, Agbetossou received the pass and placed a perfect shot into the lower left corner to build the USJ advantage and score his first collegiate goal as a member of the Blue Jays.
That would be the score heading into the halftime intermission as the Blue Jays were comfotably ahead and controlled the majority of the possession throughout the opening 45 minutes. Shots were 11-9 in favor of USJ and the Blue Jays also held a 3-1 edge in corner kicks in the opening half.
However, the Cougars would not go silently as they continued to keep pace with USJ and dipped into the Blue Jays' lead to make things interesting in the second half. In the 64th minute, Medgar Evers would get within a goal after junior Abdul Edwards (Georgetown, Guyana) struck on a free kick opportunity. Following a foul by the Blue Jays roughly 30 yards away frin goal, Edwards lined up a free kick a laced a strike past USJ's freshman keeper John Griffin (Southington, Conn.) to keep the Cougars within striking distance.
Despite the second-half marker from Edwards, the Blue Jays were able to hold defensively for the remainder of the match and keep the Cougars off the scoreboard. USJ didn't falter after the goal and kept up the pressure firing five shots on frame in the closing minutes, including a shot that hit the crossbar from freshman forward Benjamin Marchetti (Higganum, Conn.) and a failed penalty kick by sophomore forward DeAnte Anderson (Bloomfield, Conn.). Following a save off the Anderson PK, Marchetti nearly netted his first career marker, but Obeissant made the save and time ticked down for the 2-1 final result.
Griffin and senior Joseph Boland (Rhinebeck, N.Y.) split time once again between the pipes for the Blue Jays. Boland (1-0-0) picked up the win for USJ starting and playing the first half with one save. Griffin also made a save over the final 45 minutes in relief. Obeissant (0-2-0) was dealt the loss and finished with 10 saves for the Cougars.
Saint Joseph held an advantage in total shots, 21-12, and shots on goal, 12-3. Medgar Evers held a slight edge in corner kicks, 4-3.
Men's soccer returns back to the pitch on Wednesdady with a midweek road match at Fisher College. Kick-off between the Blue Jays and Falcons is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Hormel Stadium.