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Depleted Firebirds Unravel in Second Half, Fall 3-0 to Mercyhurst

Freshman Gabriel Torres led the Firebirds with five shots.
Freshman Gabriel Torres led the Firebirds with five shots.

BOYDS, MD – After playing to a scoreless tie through the first half, the University of the District of Columbia surrendered three goals in the second half en route to a 3-0 defeat vs. non-region foe Mercyhurst University on Wednesday afternoon at Maryland SoccerPlex.

The Firebirds fell to 2-8-1 overall and 0-7 in non-conference play with today's loss, but will take a 2-1-1 East Coast Conference record into Saturday's game vs. league foe Daemen College at Longbridge Park in Arlington, VA at 1 p.m. The Lakers, ranked No. 7 in the Atlantic Region and at the top of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) standings with a league mark of 5-1, improved to 7-3-1 overall.

UDC controlled possession and out-shot its guests 10-8 in the first half; in fact, the Firebirds took the game's first seven shots and put five of them on goal. Mercyhurst's Alex Brems stopped all five shots he faced in the first half; meanwhile, Joao Brusamolin only needed to make one save to keep the first half shutout intact.

 Reserve Jorge Gonzalez broke the scoreless tie nearly nine minutes into the second half, blasting a shot from 25 yards out over the head of Brusamolin for the game's first goal.

Sixteen minutes later, Gonzalez got behind the Firebirds' defense on a breakaway, but was met in the box with a slide tackle by Brusamolin, who was then whistled for his second yellow card of the game, and subsequently ejected. Backup goalkeeper Ever Guevera Alvarez came in the game to immediately face a penalty kick by Mark Roche, and he was unable to stop the shot attempt. Roche's goal put Mercyhurst up, 2-0.

In the 83rd minute, Roche again fired from point blank range, and Alvarez batted the shot down. After Alvarez batted the shot down, however, the ball rolled right to a waiting Thom Derks, who blasted a shot into the open net for the Lakers' 3rd goal.

Mercyhurst, which out-shot UDC 11-6 in the second half, finished the game with a 19-16 edge in shots, and Brems finished with six saves to earn a complete game shutout victory.