No. 25 Penn State Men’s Soccer Pulls Off 3-1 Come-From-Behind Victory Over Howard
No. 25 Penn State (6-1-2, 2-0 Big Ten) came out victorious over out-of-conference opponent Howard (0-6-1, 0-1 MEAC) with a 3-1 come-from-behind win Wednesday night at Jeffrey Field.
Howard took the lead in the second minute after a goal from Marcus Lewis, but a red card three minutes later put the Bison in a tough spot for the remaining 85 minutes. Penn State continued to wear Howard down until it scored three goals in the last 20 minutes, with contributions by Ben Liscum, Sam Kpardeh, and Peter Mangione.
How It Happened
Jeff Cook made two changes to the starting lineup from the team’s last outing against UNC Greensboro. Sam Ovesen replaced Femi Awodesu due to a red card suspension, and Quentin Flowers subbed in for Freddie Bell.
Coming into the match, Penn State has been back to excellent form, while Howard has struggled to find momentum this season. This gave Penn State confidence right from the start as it put the pressure on in the first minute when Alex Stevenson just missed Samson Kpardeh on a through ball.
Despite the fast start for the Nittany Lions, just three minutes into the game, Marcus Lewis found the back of the net from inside Penn State’s penalty box. A lack of concentration early on left Lewis wide open, and he slotted his attempt over the gloves of Kris Shakes.
With a boost in confidence, Howard looked like the better team as it put more pressure on Penn State and won a corner with 40 minutes to go in the first half. The Bisons got a head on the ball, but a poor shot led to a turnover.
The Nittany Lions used the poor chance to start a counterattack as Kpardeh ran free and was brought down. Brandon Franklin received a red card in the sixth. minute and the Bison played with 10 men for the remaining minutes. Peter Mangione gave the free kick a good attempt, but the ball hit the side of the net.
The next 10 minutes were much calmer than the fast-paced start to the match as Penn State controlled possession. Flowers really made his presence felt in midfield as most of the possession was played through him.
Even with much less possession and only 10 men, Howard still looked dangerous as it won a corner in the 17th minute. Penn State immediately found a follow-up chance but couldn’t convert the well-placed cross.
With 25 minutes left in the half, Penn State still didn’t have a shot on goal despite dominating possession.
In the 23rd minute, Flowers and Mangione linked up for a give-and-go in the Bisons’ box. The play resulted in two consecutive corners for the Nittany Lions, but they couldn’t create a shot on goal.
In the 25th minute, Penn State made two changes to try and rejuvenate the squad. Bell came on for Ben Liscum and Van Danielson replaced Flowers.
With 15 minutes remaining in the opening half, Penn State had two great opportunities. Sean Bettenhausen’s shot was saved by Howard’s goalkeeper and Bell’s was cleared by a defender.
As the first half winded down, the Nittany Lions’ ball control started to frustrate the Bisons as Peter Gansallo received a yellow card. The subsequent free kick was placed nicely on the head of Mangione, who forced a save from the Howard goaltender.
Penn State closed the first half trailing 1-0.
The start of the second half saw more of the same story as the first. Penn State controlled the ball but couldn’t beat the stiff Howard defense. The lack of risks taken resulted in a lack of real chances for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State won another corner kick, but no one in blue got a touch on the ball. Frustrated with the referee, the counterattack led to a Stevenson yellow card for unsporting behavior.
With time on the board for a comeback, Penn State looked like it was about to find the equalizer with 30 minutes left in the match. A great pass from Kpardeh barely missed the foot of Danielson right on the penalty spot.
The Nittany Lions again looked like they would equalize off a well-placed Bell shot, but it lacked a little pace and Howard’s keeper extended to make the save.
As the clock wound down, Mangione was taken down just outside of the box resulting in another yellow card for Howard. Mangione stayed down and was taken off the pitch for treatment on his leg.
Ben Liscum lined up for the free kick and placed it perfectly by way of an absolute screamer in the 72nd minute to even the score at 1-1.
I mean come on Ben Liscum pic.twitter.com/yEzmARBZvR— Penn State Men’s Soccer (@PennStateMSOC) September 28, 2023
With nine minutes remaining, Kpardeh ran onto a perfect ball from Kris Shakes on the left side of Howard’s half. Kpardeh continued his run past a Bison defender before he slotted the go-ahead goal.
In the 84th minute, the Nittany Lions refreshed their side through two substitutions. Trying to secure the game, Morgan Marshall came on for Danielson and Bettenhausen came on for goal scorer Kpardeh.
The final minutes were all Penn State as it locked down defensively and never allowed Howard a chance at an equalizer. A penalty kick was given to Penn State with four seconds remaining, and Mangione slotted the ball into the net to give the team the insurance goal and seal a 3-1 victory.
- Penn State’s persistence to continue shooting a whopping 18 shots paid off as it converted three within the last 25 minutes of play.
- Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Kris Shakes was an on-field leader and remained confident despite conceding an early goal. His assist to Kpardeh changed the entire trajectory of the match.
Penn State will hit the road to take on No. 22 Michigan State at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 1, in East Lansing.
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About the Author
When paired with the Thespian Society by Penn State THON, the world changed for Theresa Illicete.
Fashanu is the Nittany Lions’ most recent First-Team All-American since Micah Parsons in 2019.
Johnson is the second Penn Stater to declare for the NFL Draft.