Despite falling behind 1-0 early, the American University men's soccer team turned on the pressure to come away with a 3-1 road victory at crosstown rival Georgetown on Wednesday afternoon. Senior Nidhal Charfi provided a key spark off the bench for AU, leading the way with a goal and an assist. The Eagles are now 5-1-1 on the road this season and are unbeaten in their last nine matches.
Georgetown (9-7-1) got off to a fast start, controlling the first several minutes of play and converting the match's opening goal in the 19th minute. Jimmy Nealis scored the goal with Andy Riemer and Ibu Otegbeye picking up the assists.
After falling behind early, American (9-3-2) turned on the intensity, dominating play through the rest of the first half. The Eagles tied the score at one in the 28th minute off a Cameron Petty corner kick, which found Karsten Smith at the back post. Smith headed the ball past Georgetown goalkeeper Mark Wilber on a beautifully-executed play.
The goal seemed to energize the Eagles, and they converted their second goal less than four minutes later off a well-placed pass from Charfi to Mike Worden, who got past Wilber and had an easy breakaway goal.
American added insurance early in 53rd minute on a tough-angled shot by Charfi, which wove its way past Wilber into the back of the net. Juniors Daniel Shannon and David Menzie were credited with assists on the play.
Both teams had scoring opportunities late in the match, including a short-range miss by AU's Jack Scott and a rocket shot from Nick Kapus, which clanged off the crossbar. On the other side, Georgetown hit the post twice in the final few minutes, but neither shot found the goal.
Matt Makowski played all 90 minutes in goal for the Eagles, recording three saves. Each team was credited with four shots on goal in the match.
"It was a great performanace, especially going down 1-0 to a very good team on the road," commented American Head Coach Todd West in a postmatch interview. "[We fought] back in a battle and ended up winning a very big game so that was a huge win on the road.
With the victory, American is unbeaten in its last nine matches, which includes seven wins during the stretch. AU has outscored its opponents 17-5 during the nine-match streak.
The Patriot League-leading Eagles will return to conference play on Saturday, October 31 when they travel to Worcester, Mass., to take on Holy Cross. Match time is set for 2 p.m.