NEWARK, DE – Sophomore Gabriel Torres scored two goals for the Firebirds, but the University of the District of Columbia men's soccer team fell short, 3-2 vs. Bloomfield College in both teams' season opener Thursday afternoon at the Wilmington University Athletics Complex.
UDC (0-1), which led 1-0 at halftime today courtesy of Torres' penalty kick goal, will look to bounce back on Saturday as the Firebirds take on tournament host, Wilmington University at 4:30 p.m. The Bears, a NCAA Division II East Region opponent out of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), improve to 1-0 and will take on Millersville University on Saturday at 2 p.m.
In the first half, the Firebirds out-shot Bloomfield, 5-4 and took three corner kicks to the Bears' one. With just under two minutes remaining before halftime, junior forwards Salah Warid and Kevin Ortez executed a superb give-and-go play off of a quick throw-in by Warid from the far sideline deep in Bloomfield's half of the field. After accepting a gorgeous feed back from Ortez, Warid sent a cross into the box which hit off of a Bear defender's hand, resulting in a penalty kick. Torres, who is now 3-for-3 on penalty kicks for his career, beat Bloomfield goalkeeper Jovan Stanojkovic to the left side for his and UDC's first goal of the season.
In the second half, however, the Bears pounced on two early Firebird defensive breakdowns to claim a 2-1 lead. First, a UDC turnover in the backfield resulted in a Alistair Hughes goal off of an assist by Nathaniel Valencia just 35 seconds into the action. Less than two minutes later, Regsan Watkins beat a Firebird defender down the left side of the field and sent a cross right in front of the net for a charging Arman Bashiri, who finished for the go-ahead goal at 47:30.
UDC would settle back into the game after the disastrous opening minutes of the 2nd half, but Bloomfield later broke through for an all-too-important insurance goal in the 63rd minute by Warwick Sterling. Nicholas Calabia and the goalkeeper, Stanojkovic were both credited with assists, and the Bears led 3-1 with less than 28 minutes remaining.
Still, the Firebirds fought on, and their efforts paid off when Torres fired a left-footed strike from just outside the 18 for his 2nd goal of the day to bring UDC within a goal with just over 10 minutes left in regulation. Torres took a game-high four shots for the day, putting all four on goal.
During the final 10:30, UDC managed only one corner kick and zero shots as Bloomfield held on for a narrow, 3-2 victory.
Firebirds' sophomore goalkeeper Joao Brusamolin (0-1) collected four saves while allowing three goals in a complete game effort, while BC's Stanojkovic (1-0) saved three shots and allowed two goals for a complete game victory.