Men’s Soccer Falls To Pitt 3-2 In An Overtime Thriller
Penn State (2-8-2, 0-5-0) traveled to Pittsburgh to take on the Pitt Panthers (7-6, 1-4) on Tuesday night to continue the in-state rivalry. Pitt got its first win in the series against Penn State since the late 1970s, scoring in overtime against a Penn State side playing a man down.
How It Happened
Pitt came out firing on all cylinders. The Panthers tallied up four corners and a handful of shots within the first ten minutes of the match. In fact, Edward Kizza nearly struck gold after a bad touch from Josh Levine left the goal gaping in the 2’ of the match. A last-second deflection from Levine just did keep out a nearly embarrassing goal.
Pitt kept up the pressure early, as a headed shot by Colin Brezniak whizzed just over the crossbar in the 9’. Minutes later, Brezniak nearly put Pitt on the board with some nifty play in the box, but just missed wide with a low, driven shot.
The Panthers pressed high up the field in the opening half, often forcing errant passes from the Nittany Lions’ back line and midfield, and even sending nine players into their offensive zone at times.
Brezniak kept up his offensive activity in the 27’, lifting up a pass, squaring it up, and firing a shot just over goal.
Pitt took a 1-0 lead in the 30’ of play after a clearance from Dani Marks deflected off of a Pitt attacker in front of the Penn State goal, and the ball fell right Marcony Pimentel with only Josh Levine to beat. And beat Levine he did.
Pritchatt knotted it up in the 38’ with a great run down the left wing that he finished off with a fired shot that snuck past the Pitt keeper. This goal came minutes after Pritchatt got into something of a tussle with a few Panthers and shoved one down – but still avoided a card. Keep in mind, too, that Pritchatt opened the season as a center back in the squad.
In the 44’, Penn State midfielder Travis Keil was sent off after sending a high elbow Javi Perez’ way while the two collided in an aerial battle for the ball. Shots favored Pitt 11-2 heading into the half, reflective of the control Pitt seemed to exert throughout the first period of play.
A cross from Javi Perez in the 59’ called Levine into action, as the driven cross from the right flank curled back toward goal and hit the outside of the near post. Perez’ cross certainly caught the Penn State keeper off-guard.
Ethan Beckford was shown a yellow card in the 70’, after a string of fouls and pretty visible frustration with the referees. The game really seemed to slow down drastically in the second half. Pitt lost its fire in attack, and Penn State seemed to be content with leaving Pittsburgh with a draw.
Well, the Panthers regained their attacking power. Pitt took a 2-1 lead with a goal from Dexter in the 75′ after the ball bounced around in the box for a few seconds before the forward notched his fourth goal of the season. In the final ten minutes, another Pitt goal seemed inevitable as they carried out a barrage against Levine in goal. They failed to break through, although a Penn State counterattack seemed unlikely.
Ethan Beckford, in an unbelievable turn of events, tied up the match in the 90′ despite Penn State’s struggles while playing a man down. Beckford’s goal stunned the Pitt team and crowd, and overtime became inevitable. This goal came despite a 25-5 advantage for Pitt in the goals department at the end of regular time.
The Panthers nearly ended the match with a goal in the opening minute of overtime, but a strong save from Levine kept the Nittany Lions alive. Javi Perez nicked a golden goal for Pitt, however, before the first period of overtime finished up, sending the Panthers off with delight.
Player of the Match
Ethan Beckford | Freshman | Forward
The young Mancunian came through with a clutch goal in the final minute of regular time, as his hard work throughout the match finally paid off. This goal came despite Pitt’s seeming control over the match, as well as their man-down disadvantage.
Bob Warming and his Nittany Lions will head to East Lansing, Michigan to take on one of the best teams in the country in Michigan State on Saturday.