MILLERSVILLE, PA – The University of the District of Columbia men's soccer team, fresh off one of the program's best seasons in 2017, earned a decisive, 2-0 season-opening win vs. Goldey-Beacom College Thursday afternoon at Millersville University's Pucillo Field.
Senior midfielder Kelvin Herrera, a 2017 Second Team All-East Coast Conference honoree, scored the game-winner on an assist by sophomore forward Ryan Dagley in the 28th minute, and ECC Preseason Player of the Year Gabriel Torres added a penalty kick insurance goal with 13 minutes remaining to solidify the Firebirds' victory.
In a battle of two East Region teams that advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Division II Tournament last year, UDC (1-0) out-shot GBC (0-1), 20-5, put eight shots on goal to the Lightning's two, and took seven corner kicks to GBC's three. Firebird junior goalkeeper Joao Brusamolin made two saves to preserve his 5th career shutout (3rd complete game shutout).
Torres, an All-American who led the ECC with 90 shots last season, was the most active player on the field offensively with eight shots, two of which were on goal. Also, UDC's sophomore forward Michel Egbame and Herrera had five and four shots, respectively.
The Firebirds came out as hot offensively as the 91-degree temperature with the humidity on Pucillo Field this afternoon. They fired the game's first 10 shots before breaking through with the game's first goal by Herrera. Egbame nearly put UDC on the board in the 13th minute when his shot clanked off the post, and Torres put a shot on goal just before the 15-minute mark that was saved. Herrera's low liner from 25 yards out beat returning Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Goalkeeper of the Year, Suhail Bismilla, to the left side of the goal, and the Firebirds would take that 1-0 advantage into halftime.
Almost nine minutes into the second half, the Lightning earned a corner kick, and the resulting set piece amounted to an Ethan Maguire shot that sailed high. Minutes later, following a foul on UDC, GBC's Nicholas Ladeira fired a shot on goal, but Brusamolin was up to the task and stopped it for one of his two saves.
The Lightning never threatened again as their only other shot for the rest of the game was blocked, and UDC continued to apply offensive pressure with a 9-3 shot advantage in the closing half.
Torres, who was 6-of-7 on penalty kicks last season, is now 8-of-9 on penalty kick opportunities for his career after his PK goal in the 77th minute today. This was his 29th career goal.
The Firebirds are now 5-2-1 in season-opening games under head coach Matt Thompson, and they improved to 4-1 vs. Goldey-Beacom under Thompson.
Next up, UDC will complete Millersville University's season-opening tournament on Sat., Sept. 1 as the Firebirds take on another school from the CACC, Wilmington University. Kick-off is at 4:30 p.m.