Oct. 7, 2006
WASHINGTON - Perhaps it was the few days rest the Eagles received after a harrowing road trip forced them to play 13 games over 37 days and travel more than 8,000 miles. Maybe it was the new-look all-red uniforms AU sported. Whatever it was, it worked, as the American University men's soccer team exploded for four goals in a 4-2 win over Patriot League foe Holy Cross on Saturday at Reeves Field.
After the Eagles' toughest stretch of the season to date - which included heartbreaking overtime losses to No. 18 New Mexico and No. 5 Virginia over a six-game winless streak, all during that 8,000-mile trek - Reeves Field was a welcome sight for the Eagles. American opened the game with all the momentum, but were still frustrated by just missing on several good scoring opportunities.
It wasn't until the 27th minute that AU capitalized on one of those opportunities. Dor Yasur (Boca Raton, Fla./Donna Klein Jewish Academy) corralled a throw-in by Garth Juckem (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Jesuit) and lifted it into the box, where Philip Purdy (Woodbridge, Va./Osbourn Park) chested it down to himself and put it home to give American the 1-0 lead.
Just five minutes later, in the 32nd minute, Justin Turco (Odenton, Md./Archbishop Spalding) gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead with a highlight reel goal. Senior defender Nathan Baker (Bowie, Md./St. John's College H.S.) put a long ball through the box, to which Turco outraced a defender. While falling down, Turco pulled the ball back to himself with his heel and then managed to get a shot off which trickled just inside the right post.
After the Crusaders' Alex Cruz brought Holy Cross back to within one goal in the 53rd minute, senior Sal Caccavale (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip) answered in the 54th minute. Forward Larry Mark (Beltsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic) put a cross through the box from the right side which found Caccavale's feet. Caccavale did the rest, firing a low liner to the right side of the net to give the Eagles another two-goal cushion.
Still, Holy Cross was not ready to give in. Just five minutes later, in the 59th minute, Cruz struck again when he tipped in a cross from Sefton Kincaid. The score sat at 3-2, American, with 30 minutes of battle ahead.
With just 9:25 left in the game, Juckem put the game on ice when a cross deflected off a Holy Cross defender. The ball bounced high, but Juckem patiently waited for it to come down to knee level, then got his powerful right foot over the ball to blast a low liner that went into the far left corner of the net.
Despite the win, American was outshot in the game, 15-14. AU goalkeeper Chris Sedlak (Valrico, Fla./Bloomingdale) was solid in net, making seven saves. The Eagles return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 11, when they visit West Virginia University.