UMass men’s soccer draws against Fordham, 1-1

Minutemen tied game with less than three minutes left in regulation

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Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian

By Pablo Quiceno, Collegian Correspondent

With four minutes left in regulation, goalkeeper Marvyn Dorchin played out around the attacking half of the field for the desperate Massachusetts men’s soccer team.

A few moments later, UMass (6-1-2, 2-1-2 Atlantic 10) down 1-0 to Fordham with less than three minutes to play, tied the game. A free-kick from junior midfielder Ben Shepherd at the 25-yard marker on the left side of the field connected with Logan Brown for his first goal of the season, a header that grazed Rams (4-0-2, 2-0-2 A-10) goalie Josh Lavine’s hands and helped the Minutemen bring the game to a 1-1 draw.

“We had them on their toes with fairly intense pressure for the previous 10 or 15 minutes, and it was a good ball in by Ben Shepherd,” UMass head coach Fran O’Leary said. “We competed for it, and I think Logan put it away well. It’s important to come first in the box, and I think in that particular situation, we came first and won the box.”

Coming into the game, Fordham had the advantage over UMass if they finished the season tied for first place in the A-10 North standings. Fordham beat the Minutemen 2-1 in double overtime previously on March 24. On top of that, there will only be four teams playing in the A-10 tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The stakes couldn’t have been higher.

Part two of Fordham versus UMass did not disappoint. The Rams came out of the gate playing their slow-paced and disciplined brand of soccer. On the other side of the field, the Minutemen imposed their high-flying offense, especially in the second half, where UMass pushed relentlessly. Neither team was able to put together a goal in the first half, though.

Fordham struck first in the second half when freshman Max Rogers netted his first goal of the season from the far-left side of the field just outside of the 18-yard box. It floated over Marvyn Dorchin’s head, hit the far-right post, and ricocheted into the goal in the 58th minute of play. This put Fordham in the driver’s seat and put UMass’ position in the A-10 at risk.

“It was sort of a cross that caught wind and went into the roof of the net,” O’Leary said on what he thought about Fordham’s goal. “We kept going, and I was really proud of our commitment level to execute and keep on going,”

The Minutemen wasted no time to keep on going indeed. Whether it was Yosuke Hanya sprinting down the field with two or three guys on his back looking for teammates to set up or the defensive line putting together stops, it seemed to be again another team effort that kept UMass in the game.

The Minutemen outshot the Rams 17 to nine.

“I think we were the team pressing most of the game,” Coach O’Leary said. “I think we outshot them comfortably so to come to Fordham, who are a good team, and outshoot them quite comfortably, concede an unlucky goal, and fight back, leaves me very proud of the team.”

Dorchin didn’t see too much action during the game with only three saves. However, his third save was arguably the most important play of the game. He denied what would have been a game-winning shot for Ram Luke McNamara’s with less than five seconds left in double overtime, saving the shot on his right while moving to the left.

“He’s been big for us all season he didn’t have much to do today,” Coach O’Leary said about Dorchin’s performance. “Right at the end of the game, he pulled off a big save…it comes as no surprise he’s a fine goalkeeper.”

Coach O’Leary thought that the team effort and focus was so phenomenal on both defense and offense he felt “a little unlucky not to get to three points” on the box score. Although UMass did not put three up on Fordham, they played a great game. Fans can only hope that UMass and Fordham will have a part three and will be in the A-10 Championship to go to the NCAA Tournament.

Looking ahead, the Minutemen will undoubtedly try to replicate their effort against their next opponent, Rhode Island.

“I can’t fold our guys for their performance today,” O’Leary said. “If we get the same level of performance, same commitment, I think well have a very competitive chance at getting the results.”

Pablo Quiceno can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @PabloSantiago00.