ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY – Junior reserve forward Salah Warid sprinted down the field and tapped in Malik Thom's slow-rolling cross sent right in front of the net to break a 1-1 tie with 10 minutes remaining in regulation and send the University of the District of Columbia men's soccer team to its 7th straight victory, 2-1 over host Molloy College in East Coast Conference action Saturday afternoon at RVC Sports Complex.
The Firebirds improved to 8-2 overall and took sole possession of 1st place in the ECC standings with a 3-0 mark in league play. The Lions fell to 3-6 overall and 2-1 in the ECC with today's loss.
UDC freshman goalkeeper Luis Aguirre improved to 6-0 on his rookie season as he made two saves and allowed just one goal. Preseason ECC Defensive Player of the Year Raul Bonilla made five saves and allowed two goals in the losing effort.
The visitors dominated possession in the first half as the Firebirds out-shot Molloy, 11-3 and had a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks, but that opening period ended in a scoreless tie.
Senior forward Raphael Pacano ended the scoreless spell just over five minutes into the 2nd half when he gathered a loose ball just outside the box and ripped a shot past Bonilla for the game's first goal.
Molloy answered about 15 minutes later on a free kick play that was positioned like a corner kick from the right side of the field. Paul Morales lofted a pass into the box for a waiting Anthony Cestaro, who blasted a shot past Aguirre for the game-tying goal.
Each team had a few quality scoring chances in the next 10 minutes of action, but it was UDC that broke through for the gamewinner just before the 80-minute mark on Warid's 2nd goal of the year and Thom's 1st assist.
With 10 minutes remaining, UDC had to contend with not only three Lion corner kicks, but also a very dangerous offensive threat – Molloy's Lukas Firestone's flip-throw from the sideline in Firebird territory. The Firebird defense was up to the task, however, holding Molloy without a shot in that time, and they preserved the 2-1 victory.
Next up, UDC will host ECC foe New York Institute of Technology on Wednesday, October 4th at 3 p.m.