October 11, 2012

#16 Avengers Rally, Defeat #20 Monroe in 2OT Thriller

BROOKLYN, NY --- The much talked-about, highly anticipated meeting between the #16 ASA Men's Soccer team and the #20 Monroe Mustangs certainly lived up to its hype by turning into the most exciting contest in the history of the rivalry.

Freshman Kareem Kennedy scored the decisive goal in the 101st minute of double overtime to give ASA (11-1-1) a 2-1 victory over Monroe (6-2-0) - the first in program history over the 2011 National Finalists - and a half-game lead in the race for the Region XV championship.

ASA and Monroe played a dead even, defensive oriented match during the first half, finishing the first 45 minutes with both teams taking five shots in a scoreless game.

The action, and tension, picked up drastically in the second half, as each team fought to make the first breakthrough. ASA had several chances in the early stages of the period but failed to capitalize on them. Between the 50th and 55th minutes, the Avengers would miss three close range opportunities, including a strike from sophomore Dorado Phipps that seemed to go in but hit the bottom left corner of the post and flew out.

Those missed attempts would come back to haunt the team shortly thereafter. During the 57th minute, a questionable ASA foul call within the Mustangs' scoring box led to a coverted penalty shot by Monroe's Ibrahim Diaby, giving Monroe a 1-0 advantage.

The excitement for the Mustangs, as well as their lead, would be shortlived. ASA would strike right back in the 59th minute as sophomores Franck Praudel (goal) and Jose Herrera (assist) would link up on a left side score to tie the contest, 1-1.

Outside of a yellow card assessed to each team after the two scores, both teams again played each other evenly until the end of regulation. However, momentum seemed to shift in ASA's favor, as the Avengers enjoyed a 5-2 advantage in shots after Praudel's goal.

The first overtime period revverted back to the tempo of the first half, with each squad having only a couple of corner kicks to show for their efforts. Fortunately, the second OT proved to be the difference in the back-and-forth battle.

One minute into the frame, freshman Angel Martinez would gain possession of the ball on the left side of the pitch, outside of the box. Martinez sent a perfect cross pass to Kennedy as he streaked into the zone and Kennedy put it into the top left corner of the net, sending the ASA sidelines into a frenzy.

With the victory, ASA finishes its home slate undefeated at 4-0, the first time the Avengers have gone unblemished on their home turf. ASA is also a half-game ahead of Monroe in Region XV play at 2-0.

ASA will return to action on Saturday, October 13th as the team travels to Mercer County College in South Jersey. First kick for that match is set for 2:00PM in West Windsor, NJ.