On a chilly afternoon at Retriever Soccer Park, sophomore-forward Cesare Marconi scored a goal four minutes into overtime to give UMBC’s Retrievers a 1-0 win over Hartford’s Hawks in front of the second largest home crowd this season. The game was an even contest, with the Retrievers having better chances in the first half and the Hawks edging the play in the second half.
In the first half, UMBC played on the attack often, forcing Hartford goalie Jimmy Slayton into four key saves. 2,113 fans came out to support the Retrievers despite the viciously cold weather. However, UMBC could not convert their chances into goals. Junior-forward Tre Pulliam had a good early chance cleared off the line by a Hartford defender. Junior-forward Jordan Dove also had a header from a free kick saved.
The Retrievers controlled most of the possession in the first half, and the Hawks’ midfield could not stop the home team getting passes into the forwards. Junior-defender Jon Bell and sophomore-midfielder Matt Bailey, who were constant threats down UMBC’s left, had played big roles in UMBC’s dominance. They were constantly bombing forward, dribbling past opponents and getting crosses into the box.
In the second half, the Hawks began to create more chances. They had a goal ruled out for offside five minutes into the second half, and hit the crossbar with a shot in the 11th minute. UMBC had chances missed from junior-midfielder Colin Weyant and Marconi. Hartford also wasted an opportunity to win the game late on.
Not long into overtime Marconi swept a shot to the goalie’s right to win the game for the Retrievers. Senior-midfielder James Gielen centered a pass from the right side of the 18 yard box, and Marconi scored to send the home fans wild.
“It was a good win in the end, and that’s what we needed,” Gielen, who provided the game winning assist, said. “We had a lot of chances, and I definitely thought the chance [to win the game] would come eventually. We just need to come with more intensity from the beginning again [in the next game].”
“We didn’t play well but you are always excited to get a win,” Head Coach Pete Caringi said after the game. “It helps us in the conference.”
Coach Caringi said Bell was “phenomenal in the game” and described Bailey’s performance as gutsy. He also said that, at full time, he told the team to attack on their left side, to get the ball to Gielen and let him attack the goal, and to look out for Marconi, and that’s exactly how they scored.
“2003 and 2013 teams were winners,” Coach said about the two teams honored on Homecoming night. “I am happy to have them back and involved. 2013 teams was one of the best teams UMBC ever had.”
“Fans were fantastic,” Caringi said on the crowd turnout. “Another record crowd, even on a cold night. The band was also fantastic. Next Saturday is a big game (against Binghamton). We need our fans [for that game as well]!”
On homecoming soccer night, UMBC will be celebrate a win as well as alumni night, organized to honor the 2003 and 2013 AE title-winning teams. The Retrievers move to 6-4-2, 2-2 in America East conference play and have an unbeaten record in their last three games with a record of 2-0-1.