Nov. 15, 2008
HAMILTON, N.Y. - The American University men's soccer team fought back from a one goal deficit in the second half to force overtime, but fell to Holy Cross in penalty kicks in the Patriot League Semifinal, ending its season. The Crusaders Thomas Booth made one stop in the round of five to earn the win for Holy Cross. Phil Purdy, Karsten Smith and Danny Shannon all connected on their attempts for the Eagles, while all five Crusaders were able to find the back of the net.
"I'm very proud of our team and the way we competed tonight, coming back from a goal down," said AU head coach Todd West. "I felt as though we were good enough to go all the way, but that's the way it goes when it comes down to penalty kicks."
Two minutes into the second overtime it looked as though the Eagles would have a golden opportunity to end the contest, when Shannon fed Mike Worden down the heart of the box on pass that split a pair of Crusader defenders, but the officials ruled Worden offsides. Both teams were credited with two shots in the overtime periods before the game went to PKs.
The first 10 minutes of the game were spent getting a feel for the flow of the game with neither team creating anything dangerous. American and Holy Cross exchanged a pair of free kicks from dangerous spots in the opening 15 minutes of the game. Both opted for short passes to create shots on goal, but could not get off anything on net.
Holy Cross began to pressure and was awarded a corner kick that Eagles freshman goalie and Rookie of the Year Matt Makowski was forced to punch out of danger on the far post to thwart the Crusader attack. With 24:22 remaining in the first half, American's Alex Tilatti made a great defensive play in the box to kill a thru-ball intended for Kyle Miller to keep the scoreless tie intact.
The Crusaders got on the board with just over 19 minutes remaining in the half when the American defense struggled to clear a long ball into the box. Miller won the loose ball about 10 yards out from goal and put the shot low to the left post past Makowski for the score.
After the goal, Holy Cross sat in their defensive zone, allowing American to get chances in the closing minutes of the game. But shots by Jamie Davin and Anthony Moy both missed wide right to send the Eagles down a goal at the intermission.
Trailing a goal heading into the final 45 minutes of play, the Eagles were out for the equalizer from the kick-off to begin the second half. Holy Cross seemed content to sit in its own defensive end to preserve the 1-0 score, but it was not to be. David Menzie evened the score at 55:12 courtesy of a Danny Shannon cross through the box from the left touchline. The 1-1 tie would hold through 90 minutes, though Cameron Petty had the best chance of the second half to end the game in regulation at 67:11 when he found himself in alone on Booth, but could not capitalize.
The Eagles outshot the Crusaders by a 16-8 margin, not counting the penalty shots. Booth finished with seven saves, while Makowski made one stop for American.
American finished the season with a 9-7-3 overall record and will graduate five seniors from its 2008 squad.