WASHINGTON, DC – The Firebirds raced out to a 4-0 lead almost mid-way through the second half and coasted to a 4-2 East Coast Conference victory over University of Bridgeport on an unseasonably hot Wednesday afternoon at UDC Field.
After taking a 1-0 advantage at the half, UDC (4-5-1, 2-2 ECC) erupted for three goals in a span of seven minutes early in the 2nd half to extend its lead to an insurmountable four goals. Bridgeport (5-4, 2-3 ECC) scored two penalty kick goals in the 78th and 80th minutes, but it was too little, too late.
Freshman goalkeeper Milton Diaz stopped four of six shots faced in a complete game winning effort for UDC, while Bridgeport's Carlos Tofern had three saves and four goals allowed in the loss.
The Firebirds featured four different goal scorers, including sophomore defender Pablo Basarte, who put the Firebirds on the board a little over seven minutes into the action with his first goal of the year - a header off a corner kick by Gabriel Torres.
Neither team would score for the remainder of the first half, though, the Purple Knights came awful close minutes before halftime. A breakaway resulted in an open net opportunity for Bridgeports' Goncalo Mendes, but UDC freshman defender Jake Bedforth sprinted over and slid just in time to boot the ball away before it crossed over the goal line to preserve the 1-0 lead.
About 13 minutes into the 2nd half, another Torres corner kick resulted in a Firebird goal – this one by senior forward, Raphael Pacano.
Pacano's goal kicked off a flurry of Firebird goals, as senior midfielder Kelvin Herrera blasted a shot from the right side around the 64-minute mark, and just a little over a minute later, Torres fired successfully from the left side to make it 4-0.
Two defensive lapses resulted in penalty kicks for Bridgeport, as Mamadou Traore and Marlon Montanella scored respective goals in a span of less than two minutes.
The Firebirds would tighten back up defensively, however, and they held on for a two-goal margin of victory.
UDC improved to 3-0 at home this season, won its 2nd straight game, and set a season-high scoring mark today with four goals.
The Firebirds will look to continue their momentum as they enter a challenging stretch of the season beginning Sat., Oct. 6 with a rematch of last year's ECC Final – on the road at LIU Post.