Category Archives: Soccer

Premier League Week 33 Recap

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action featured league-leading Chelsea falling to defeat, while Tottenham Hotspur continued their hot streak.
The Red Devils of Manchester United continue to improve their offense. Following their 2-0 home victory against Chelsea, they have scored five goals in their past two matches. The result is also thanks to great defense; they shut down the league-leaders to zero shots on goal.
Marcus Rashford struck a goal first for United in minute seven. The 19-year-old forward met a through pass by Ander Herrera that cut through Chelsea’s defense, and scored with a low shot that snuck past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

It was Rashford’s fifth goal of the season. The goal came as a surprise to many, as the youngster started in front of Zlatan Ibrahimović, who currently leads United with 17 goals on the season.

Controversy surrounds the play as well. Herrera’s hand touched the ball just before he gained position, but referee Robert Madley did not call a handball, allowing the play to continue. Herrera was responsible for United’s second goal in minute 49.

The Spain international took advantage of sloppy defense and gained possession inside the box. He then scored with a shot that deflected off a Chelsea defender and went into the center of the net. It was the midfielder’s first goal of the season.
Chelsea faced offensive woes the entire match. This is largely due to the Blues’ biggest play makers, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, being unable to create opportunities. The offense recorded just five shots total.

Costa’s struggles continued throughout the match. After a scoring streak at the beginning of the season, he has failed to strike goal in his last five matches.

With this drought, he still has 17 goals on the season and is tied with Ibrahimović and Sergio Aguero for fourth-most in the league. Hazard has not had as tough a time in recent matches, but he was practically invisible against United’s defense.

The Belgium international currently has 15 goals on the season.
Following the victory, United stays put at fifth in the table. They sit just three points ahead of Everton and four points behind Manchester City.

If they continue playing good offense, they will have a chance to make it into the top four in the following weeks. A resurgence in Paul Pogba’s game would help make that happen. He has not recorded a goal since December, and has lost possession to opponents quite frequently, even with his size.

Manchester United’s next match is against Burnley on Sunday. The club fell to 14 in the table, following a 1-3 defeat to Everton on Saturday.
The loss was Chelsea’s second in their last five matches. The loss gives Tottenham a chance at the title, as they sit just four points behind in second place.

The Blues look to find their groove again as they face Southampton next Tuesday. The Saints sit at ninth in the table, and were shut out 0-3 by Manchester City on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur have been the hottest club in the Premier League over the past couple months, winning seven straight matches including their dominant 4-0 victory against Bournemouth on Saturday. The Spurs’ offense has been firing on all cylinders, as they have scored 11 goals in their past three matches.
Midfielder Mousa Dembele scored the first goal for Tottenham in minute 16. The Belgium international found open space in the box following a corner, and fired a shot into the center of the net. It was his first goal of the season.

Son Heung-Min scored for the Spurs three minutes later with a short-range strike into the back corner of the net. It was his 12th goal of the season and fifth in the last four matches.

Forward Harry Kane scored his 20th goal of the season, with a short-range goal from the center of the box. The England international gained possession, following a cross by midfielder Dele Alli.

Substitute Vincent Janssen scored his second goal of the season in stoppage time. He capitalized from short-range, after his first shot was blocked by Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
Bournemouth managed to record just one shot on goal against the Spurs’ defense. Their best goal opportunity came in minute 24 when defender Steve Cook’s header went just over the net. They held just 31 percent of possession for the match.
Tottenham hopes for a chance at the title following the victory and Chelsea’s defeat. They currently sit just four points behind the Blues, and face bottom-half club Crystal Palace next Wednesday.

If their offense continues to get everyone involved, they will be the scariest team to face in the coming weeks. Harry Kane has a chance at the Golden Boot, as his 20 goals are second-most in the league behind Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. It would be his second straight season earning the award after he recorded the league-best 25 goals last season.
Bournemouth falls to 16 in the table with the defeat. It was their second straight loss. They sit just two spots away from relegation, but could stand their ground with a home victory against 19th place Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Premier League Match-ups

by Evan Sobol

The biggest matchup of the weekend was Tottenham Hotspur visiting Liverpool at Anfield. The Reds scored early goals and used great defense to win 2-0, following their defeat last week at Hull.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane had an excellent first half, scoring both of the Reds’ goals. The first came in the minute 16. Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum provided an excellent through pass for Mane from midfield. The Senegal international then ran past the Spurs’ defense and shot into the left side of the net. He scored again just two minutes later, off a deflection by Tottenham’s goalkeeper. Hugo Lloris made two excellent saves, but was unlucky after his second bounced into the possession of Mane who fired it into the net from short range. It was Mane’s 11th Premier League goal of the season. The forward had two more opportunities just a few minutes later, that were both saved by Lloris.

The Spurs’ recorded just two shots on goal, while also recorded just three corners compared to Liverpool’s ten. In minute 26, midfielder Son Heung-Min met a pass by Ben Davies in the box, but the attempt was saved by Simon Mignolet. Christian Eriksen missed a free kick in the second half that went right over Liverpool’s goal.

With the victory, Liverpool sits just one point behind Arsenal and Tottenham with 49. It was their first since Dec. 31. They have stayed in the title race, thanks to draws against Manchester United and Chelsea.

Mane is currently the leading scorer for the club, and has played well with Firmino and Coutinho at striker position. The three have scored a combined 24 goals this season. Manager Jurgen Klopp should continue using this formation if they hope to push for the top of the table. With 54 goals, Liverpool is tied with Arsenal for the most in the league. The Reds’ next match is at defending champions Leicester City on February 27. The Foxes have lost five straight.

The Spurs still sit at second with 50 points following the loss. They have been tested in each of their last four matches; they escaped with a win at home last week with a penalty kick by Harry Kane. Kane is still one of the best forwards in the league, racking up a total of 14 goals. The player to look out for down the stretch is Son. He got off to a great start with the club, scoring four goals in September. He has scored just three since. If he can get back on track, Kane and Dele Alli will get more goal opportunities. Tottenham’s next fixture is Feb. 26 against ninth-place Stoke City.

Manchester United continued their impressive unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win against Watford.

The Red Devils got on the board in minute 32, with a short-range goal by midfielder Juan Mata. Anthony Martial set up the score with a low cross into the box. It was Mata’s sixth goal of the season. Martial added to the goal tally with a short-range goal at the hour mark. The France international shot into the left side of the net. Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, had his vision blocked by midfielder Craig Cathcart. This left the goal open for Martial. It was the forward’s third league goal of the season.

Watford recorded just nine shots total. Midfielder Jose Holebas missed an attempt from the left side of the box in the minute 18. The shot went far-right of the goal. The visitor’s closest opportunity came in at minute 53 on a free kick from just outside the box. Mauro Zarate fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net. United goalkeeper De Gea blocked attempt.

United stayed at sixth in the table with the victory. They currently have 48 points and sit just two points behind second-place Tottenham. They have not lost a match since October 23. They can still push Chelsea for the top spot and look to get secure a spot in the Champions League next season with a top-four finish. It would be their first appearance in the competition since 2015. If De Gea continues his great goalkeeping and the midfield has good chemistry with the forwards, they will be a team to watch out for. Zlatan Ibrahimović sits at tied for third in the league with 15 goals. United’s next match will be against Manchester City.

Watford fell to 13th in the league table with the loss. They have 30 points along with Burnley and Southampton. The Hornets need to give their Forwards more opportunities if they hope to gain spots. The forwards have accounted for just 11 goals this season in 25 matches. Captain Troy Deeney currently has seven and three assists. They host tenth-place West Ham February 25.

Champions League Week One Recap

 

by Evan Sobol

Match-day one of the 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League is already behind us. Let’s see how Europe’s best, played in the first week of group stage action.

Defending champions Real Madrid opened their season in Group F at home with a nail-biter against Portuguese side Sporting Clube De Portugal (CP). Sporting midfielder Bruno Cesar scored the first goal of the match just after half time in the 48th minute.

The Brazilian international team took advantage of poor defense by Ramos and Modric and capitalized with a short-range goal leaving Madrid fans stunned.

Cristiano Ronaldo started Los Blanco’s rally in the 89th minute with a free kick. The ball curled around Sporting’s wall and into the upper-right corner of the goal. Spanish forward Alvaro Morata sealed the 2-1 win for Madrid with a header in stoppage time. Midfielder James Rodriguez assisted the goal with a long range cross.

Real Madrid is currently tied with German side Borussia Dortmund at the top of Group F with three points. Sporting is tied with Polish side Legia Warszawa at the bottom of the table.

Premier League Champions Leicester City played to a convincing 0-3 win at Belgian side Club Brugge. It was Leicester’s Champions League debut and first European campaign since the 2000 UEFA Cup. Midfielder Marc Brighton opened the scoring for the Foxes in the fifth minute with a short-range goal.

Riyad Mahrez scored in the 29th minute with a free kick into the upper left corner of the net. The Algerian midfielder added to the scorecard again with a penalty kick in the 61st minute. Brugge finished the match with only two on target scoring attempts. They are alone at the bottom of Group G after the loss. Leicester leads the group after the draw between Portuguese side FC Porto and FC Kobenhavn of Denmark. If the Foxes keep this form, they will be the clear favorites to win the group.

Tottenham Hotspur was the only English team to lose their opening match after falling to French side Monaco at home 1-2. Monaco scored early in the 15th minute with a short-range goal by Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva. Substitute Thomas Lemar added to the scoring with a goal off a cross and over the goalkeeper’s head in the 31st minute. The Spurs reduced the deficit to one with Toby Alderweireld’s header right before halftime. Monaco held Tottenham scoreless in the second half to get the win. With the loss the Spurs sit at the bottom of Group E. If they hope to make a push for winning the group they need playmaker Harry Kane to step up. Monaco sits alone at the top of the group with the victory.

French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain opened their Champions League season with a 1-1 draw at home against Arsenal. Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani scored PSG’s lone goal on their very first possession in the first minute. He took advantage of a great cross by defender Serge Aurier and headed the ball into the right side of the net. Cavani had a goal opportunity in the 34th minute with the net wide open, but did not capitalize with a shot wide right.

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez scored Arsenal’s lone goal with a screamer from the edge of the box in the 78th minute. Following the draw all teams in Group A are tied with one point apiece. Cavani needs to take better advantage of his scoring opportunities if Paris hopes to win the group. The departure of Zlatan Ibrahimović to Manchester United has hurt their usual scoring tally.

Usual Champions League contenders Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City each earned blowout victories at home. Lionel Messi scored three goals and had one assist against Celtic. He is currently tied with fellow Argentinian Sergio Aguero for most goals so far this season.

The Champions League returns next week, Sept. 27th and 28th, with match-day two of the group stage. Borussia Dortmund look to lead Group F as they host Real Madrid Tuesday and Bayern Munich visit defensive power Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Women’s Soccer Streak Ends at Two

 

by Kimberly Pena

Central Connecticut State University’s Women’s Soccer team’s two-game winning streak came to an end on Thursday against Providence College with a 3-1 loss at the CCSU Soccer Field. The Blue Devils dropped to 2-7 for the season, while the Friars improved their record to 5-3-1.

Game action mostly took place in the first half, as all the goals were scored in the opening frame. Providence scored the first goal in the 17th minute when forward Rachel Ugolik assisted midfielder Kathryn Hiller with the first scoring shot, giving PC a 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for the Blue Devils to respond as they scored their first and only goal two minutes later. Freshmen Anya Bornstein scored after a long kick with an assist from Shauny Alterisio. This was Bornstein’s first career goal with Central.

However, the Blue Devils weren’t able to hold off the Friars’ offense, as they regained the lead with 15 minutes left in the half by a goal from senior Jill Clapp, assisted by sophomore Casey Estey. Estey scored Providence’s final goal with two minutes left in the opening frame. She overcame CCSU’s defense to get a shot in the 18-yard box, hitting the ball towards the right side of the net and giving PC a 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Despite the lost, Coach Mick D’Arcy was proud of how the team responded in the second half by keeping a very good Providence team off the board and giving the Blue Devils at least a chance to get back into the game.

“On the second half we were just a little bit tighter defensively,” said D’Arcy. “We didn’t give them, you know, too many opportunities from there. I don’t think our goal keeper really had to make any good saves, it was a couple of easy saves for her.”

PC only had a 12-11 advantage in shots against Central. Goalkeeper Nicki Turley made five saves for CCSU after having back-to-back shutouts entering Thursday’s game.

Coach D’Arcy felt that the game allowed the Blue Devils to prove that they can compete against good teams, and that they can use this game to help move forward later in the season.

“I think we just played against a team that was in the Big East Final last year, that have a very good fight,” said D’Arcy. “We can prove to ourselves tonight that we can play with very good teams, be competitive and with better luck, I think maybe we could have got a result today. In all fairness, it was against a very good team and I think we can take some little bit of satisfaction that we were able to not only hold them, but generate chances against them as well.”

The Blue Devils faced a scare in the second half when sophomore Danielle Pearse was hit in the face by the ball and seemed fazed while lying on the field for about two minutes. She left the game soon thereafter; it is unknown if she suffered any serious injury.

Thursday’s game was their second game at home in the middle of their six-game home stretch. The team will play their next game on Sunday against Cornell at the CCSU Soccer Field.

Women’s Soccer Kicks Off Home Stand Strong

 

by Nicholas Leahey

The Central Connecticut Women’s soccer team (2-6-0) started off a six-game home streak strong on Sunday, hanging on to beat Colgate University (2-2-3) 1-0 in an overtime thriller to earn their second win of the season.

The only goal of the game came after a competitive 90 minutes of play, during sudden death overtime in the 102nd minute. Junior forward Laura Casanovas Diaz crossed the ball from the right side of goal, through traffic, towards sophomore forward Danielle Pearse on the far side, who headed the ball in. Pearse was credited with the goal, while Diaz was given the assist.

“We stayed in the game,” said women’s soccer Head Coach Mick D’Arcy in an interview after the match. “I thought they were the better side in the first half. They had some good opportunities. But we stayed in it and we didn’t concede. As the game wore on, I thought we became stronger.”

Despite the win, Colgate outshot Central Connecticut 17-9 during the game, with Colgate controlling the ball movement for most of the first half. Momentum changed in the second half, however, as CCSU began to create more chances for shots on goal. Due to a series of offside calls, however, not all chances came to fruition.

“I think it was easier to play against the wind than it was with the wind,” said Coach D’Arcy. “It’s easier sometimes when it’s not at your back. A lot of balls we were playing went out of play and during the second half we got better with that.”

Both Central Connecticut goal keeper Nicki Turley and Colgate goal keeper Kelly Chiavaro made several key saves during the game, as the ball rang off the post a handful of times on either end throughout the game. Specifically, Colgate forward Sarah Coy hit the post twice in the first half, while a shot from CCSU forward and midfielder Emily Hogan also hit the post in the 39th minute.

A yellow card was also issued to Colgate forward Abby Sotomayor in the 61st minute after she made an illegal slide tackle, knocking down CCSU midfielder Kelly Halligan. It was the only yellow card of the game and one of a handful of fouls on both sides.

“Colgate is a good side,” said D’Arcy. “They like to work and build as they play, and that’s what we like to do, too.”

The game on Sunday is the first in a series of six home games for the Blue Devils, after a long road streak. They have yet to play in the Northeast Conference. Their next game is Thursday, September 15 as they take on Providence College at 7 p.m.

Premier League Week Four Recap

 

by Evan Sobol

As the NFL begins the English Premier League is well under way across the pond, week four’s biggest matchups included the Manchester Derby and defending league champions Leicester visiting Liverpool at Anfield.

The Manchester Derby is one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports and this weekend’s match was highly anticipated. Pep Guardiola made his Derby debut as City manager and Jose Mourinho made his Derby debut as United’s. Both sides entered the match undefeated, but it was the Citizens who emerged victorious in the season’s first Manchester Derby with a 1-2 win at Old Trafford.

City’s Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a low corner strike after running past United’s defense. The goal was left wide open for De Bruyne as United’s goalkeeper De Gea was left to defend by himself. It was the Belgian international’s first goal of the season. He is off to a great start this year after missing much of last season due to a knee injury.

Forward Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first goal of the season and a short range strike in the 36th minute. De Bruyne assisted the 19-year-old with a shot off the left post. The Nigerian international has played a big role for Guardiola this season so far with three appearances. Starting for Pep as a 19-year-old in the Manchester Derby is an impressive feat.

The last goal of the match was scored by United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He continued his hot start with a short range strike just before halftime. It was his fourth Premier League goal in four matches. He is currently tied with Michail Antonio of West Ham for most goals scored so far this season.

City played excellent defense in the second half to prevent United from making a comeback. It was their first Derby win since 2014. The league-leading Citizens continue their undefeated season with a home match next Saturday against middle of the pack Bournemouth.

United looks to rebound next weekend at Watford. The Red Devils are looking for more offensive presence from newly signed midfielder Paul Pogba. He is yet to record an assist or goal in three appearances. United currently sits at third in the league standings behind Chelsea and City.

Leicester City failed to get their slow-league-start back on track after a 4-1 loss to Liverpool. The Foxes defense could not keep up with Liverpool’s creativity and touch. Leicester was lucky to score their lone goal; it was practically given to them.

Brazilian Roberto Firmino started Liverpool’s onslaught with a goal in the 13th minute. He struck the ball between a defender’s legs and into the bottom corner of the net. Firmino scored again in the 89th minute.

Sadio Mane provided a goal for Liverpool in the 31st minute with a shot deflected off the goalkeeper. He is off to a great start with his new team. It was the Senegal international’s second goal of the season and his first at Anfield as a Red.

Jamie Vardy scored the Foxes’ only goal just before halftime in the 38th minute. He took advantage of a defensive mistake by Liverpool’s Lucas. Lucas tried kicking the ball back to his goalkeeper but kicked it right to Vardy who capitalized with a strike into the wide-open net. If not for this defensive blunder Leicester could have easily lost 4-0.

Adam Lallana scored a superb goal from mid-range in the 56th minute. The English midfielder shot into the top corner of the goal leaving Leicester’s defense stunned. It was Lallana’s second goal of the season. He is off to a much better scoring pace than last season; he has already scored half as many goals in 26 less appearances.

Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool looks to jump up the table next week against second-place Chelsea. They currently sit at fifth in the league and if they continue their offensive creativity, they could be a contender down the stretch. It will be interesting to see how Chelsea’s defense plays, especially with the return of defender David Luiz.

Defending league champions Leicester look to rebound from their dismal start with a win next week at home against Burnley. The Foxes are currently 15th in the table and have not looked like last year’s squad. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy need to carry the team as they did last year, if they hope to be title contenders again.

 

The Cinderella Story That Will Never Be Repeated

by Dillon Meehan

Over the past decade, cash has become king in soccer. While some of the worlds top clubs have a rich and storied history, others such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have billionaire owners who have taken them from mediocrity to winning multiple league titles.

Heading into this fall, Chelsea and Manchester City were once again expected to battle it out for the Barclays Premier League trophy. But for once, money will not prevail.

Enter Leicester City, it is a name that is rarely even uttered as a relegation team, let alone as a mid-table, or dare one say a champion-esque team. Even to some hardcore fans, the ones who wake up early every Saturday and Sunday morning, it is a name that was still unrecognizable a few months ago.

But now with three games left to play in the season, Leicester has a chance to shock the world and capture the league with a win on Sunday against Manchester United. A team that was a 5,000-1 odd in August will win the Premier League.

They are managed by Claudio Ranieri, a man who has become more famous for his inability to capture a league title. He uses a simple 4-4-2 formation, he doesn’t rely on his central defenders to push the ball up field, which has become commonplace in today’s game. It is an old-school style that is rarely seen in 2016.

For some, this is a changing of the guard in soccer. They believe this is the end of big money, and heavy spending. That teams will rely more on building a team from within. They are wrong.

Will teams still rely on youth systems for players? Of course. Manchester City just spent hundred of millions of dollars on a new training ground with an emphasis on youth development. Teams will always look for “home grown” talent. But they will also spend for key players when they can.

Next year, Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho will be heading to Manchester City and United, Chelsea and Arsenal are also expected to appoint new managers. When Managers come to a team, they bring in players to fit their season; it is likely that those teams will spend over a billion dollars combined in the summer.

For Leicester, they will have solidified the title of the world’s greatest underdog story. Making the Boise State Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma and the 2004 Red Sox comeback against the Yankees look like sure things.

They are a phenomenal story, but it is just that. Next year it will go back to how things “should” work. Liverpool and Manchester United teams that are perennial top four teams that will have revamped squads. It won’t last.

 

Men’s Soccer Edges Vermont in Physical Contest

by Dillon Meehan

The Central Connecticut men’s soccer team beat Vermont (5-3-1) 1-0 Sunday in a physical game that left both sides playing a man down. Ryan Taylor scored the lone goal in the 69th minute after Junior Cordeiro found him inside the six-yard box; it was Taylor’s second this season.

Both teams played with ten men after Blue Devils defender Dan Casey and Catamounts midfielder Carter Lincoln received red cards in the 44th minute for a heated exchange far away from game action. CCSU (4-3) had possession of the ball at midfield but play was stopped as several members of both teams began pushing and shoving each other. The referee called for both teams to go to their benches and then disciplined the players.

CCSU head coach Shaun Green spoke rather highly of Vermont after the game.

“Vermont is a big, strong, and very athletic team,” he said. “They are off to a fantastic start and just had a tough game against Brown. I wouldn’t consider them to be a dirty team, just physical.”

Throughout the first half, both teams were jostling for possession. There were few scoring chances, due to both teams playing tough defense. CCSU tailed Vermont in shots 5-3, and Catamounts goalkeeper Conor Leland only saw one shot on goal, which he saved. The Blue Devils goalkeeper, Josef Abele, made three saves in the first half. Late in the first half, a breakaway goal by CCSU’s Zach Zurita was negated after he was deemed offside.

Once the second half started, the fact that both teams were down to ten men had a major impact on the pace of the game. With the field more open there was plenty of space for the forwards to make their runs, which lead to five Central shots in the second half.

“Having to play the second half with 10 men really opened up the field, because we’re a very fast and athletic team, it was a great advantage,” said Green after the game.

CCSU nearly took the lead when Leland was caught out of position. However, a Catamount defender made a great save, heading the shot away from goal.

After the Catamounts turned the ball over, the Blue Devils took off down the right side of the field and crossed the ball into the box. Leland could only get a hand on the ball and it bounced directly to Cordeiro, who quickly found Taylor right in front of the net for the game-winning goal. Later in the second half Taylor nearly had his second of the game, off of a Cordeiro corner but an offside call once again negated the goal.

Catamounts defender Luke Salmon made several plays both offensively and defensively. Salmon picked up a yellow card in the 74th minute after a hard tackle on Cordeiro, who was making a run on the right side. However, the Blue Devils turned it over and the Catamounts found Salmon who tapped in the equalizer in the 75th minute, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.

CCSU took advantage of the open field in the second half to outshoot Vermont 5-4. Due to the pace of the Blue Devils and their attacking play in the second half, the physical Catamounts were called for nine second half fouls to CCSU’s five.

The Blue Devils play away for the next two weeks with games at Hartford on Oct. 1 and Dartmouth on Oct. 7. They open Northeast Conference play at LIU-Brooklyn on Oct. 10. Their next home game is Sunday, Oct. 12 against NEC foe Sacred Heart.

Donovan Finishes US Career in Connecticut

by Dillon Meehan

On Friday, Oct. 10, the U.S. Men’s National Team played at Rentschler Field in Hartford in a 1-1 draw against Ecuador.

The game, however, was so much more than just an international friendly: it was the last for Landon Donovan in a USA jersey. Donovan leads the USMNT in goals, assists and minutes played and was eight games away from being the most capped player in USMNT history, having appeared in 157 international matches.

In the 40 minutes Donovan played, he set up the lone goal for USA, crossing the ball to Jozy Altidore, who dished it to emerging star DeAndre Yedlin. Yedlin found Mix Diskerud at the top of the box who put the ball into the back of the net.

In the 25th minute Altidore held the ball and gave Donovan a perfect scoring chance after a back heel pass. Donovan rocketed a shot passed the goalkeeper, but it was slightly wide and hit the post.

The game was mostly back and forth with both Ecuador and the U.S. fighting for possession until the 88th minute when Enner Valencia rifled a shot from far outside the box and into the net to tie the game.

Apart from all of the USMNT and MLS records Donovan holds, it was his never-ending dream of soccer becoming prominent in the U.S. that made his career so special.

In 2002, a 20-year-old Donovan led the USMNT to the quarterfinals of the World Cup and was named the tournament’s best young player. After that, Donovan’s national career was just starting. He captained the men’s team in the 2009 Confederations Cup, where they upset top ranked Spain in the semifinals before losing to Brazil 3-2 in the final.

In the 2010 World Cup, Donovan had his shinning moment has a USMNT player. During stoppage time in a game against Algeria, Clint Dempsey’s point blank shot was blocked and the ball bounced to Donovan who punched it in and allowed the team to win their group for the first time in 80 years. To this day, it is considered to be one of the greatest moments in American soccer history.

Shortly after, Donovan took a sabbatical from the sport and withdrew from both the MLS and USMNT. He would miss the USMNT World Cup qualifiers and, because of that, was left off the 2014 squad. The shocking decision led many to question the tactics of new manager Jurgen Klinsmann who still managed to lead the USMNT to a surprisingly successful World Cup run.

Donovan was the first superstar for USMNT, a six time National Soccer Player of The Year and the all time leader of goals and assists in the MLS. During his fourteen year USMNT career, Donovan was a key component to the rising popularity of soccer  and a role model to all of U.S. soccer’s rising stars. While the future looks bright for USMNT, there is no doubt that Landon Donovan will always be missed as a member of the red, white and blue.

Men’s Soccer Shuts Out Sacred Heart for First NEC Win

by Sean Begin

A chippy game on Sunday against Sacred Heart University worked in favor of Central Connecticut men’s soccer.

After a scoreless back and forth first half, that saw just one shot on goal from each team, Central (5-6, 1-1 NEC) took advantage of a penalty in the box late in the second half to score the lone goal of the game and shut out the Pioneers 1-0.

“Overall it was a great, great day, a great performance,” said head coach Shaun Green after the match.

With 11:52 left in the game, freshman Junior Cordeiro got loose on the left sideline, feeding the ball to senior Stephan Walmsley. Walmsley deftly heel touched the ball back to Cordeiro, who was taken down just outside the keeper box.

Senior Keir Hannity tallied his fifth goal of the season, burying the penalty kick into the lower right corner of the net.

“So creative, both of them are two of the more creative players in the league,” said Green of Walmsley and Cordeiro. “Junior’s a freshman coming in and if he’s not Rookie of the Year this year I don’t see who is.”

Cordeiro, a midfielder from Stamford, Conn., has started 10 of the 11 games he’s appeared in this season, notching one goal and two assists so far.

“He’s just so entertaining, you heard the crowd every time he got the ball,” said Green. “He’s absolutely going to be a great Division I player and he’s just fun to watch.”

At 5-feet-8-inches, Cordeiro is one of the smaller guys on the team but had no trouble playing the bigger Sacred Heart players aggressively on Sunday.

“We put an emphasis on skill over size,” said Green. “We don’t try and contain him to play one way. In the attacking third he’s got a free license to do whatever he wants and it pays off for us.”

Both defenses played well on Sunday afternoon. Central tallied just 11 shots with five on goal while holding Sacred Heart (0-11-1, 0-2 NEC) to 10 shots with only three on goal.

“We got good minutes from all our defenders so we were able to sub them at half time and rest them and get fresh defenders in the second half,” said Green.

Solid defensive games from junior Giorgi Mandzulashvili and freshman Dan Casey and Luke Albertini (who came on in the second half) helped junior goalkeeper Josef Abele record his fourth shutout of the season while saving four shots.

“The young they’re making some mistakes but today it was important that we got a shutout, and they’re learning during the process,” Green said.

The matched featured five total yellow cards and 22 penalties between the two teams. Cordeiro was the lone Blue Devil carded in the match after getting into it with Sacred Heart’s Callum Smith (who also was carded) in the 66th minute.

Both teams saw just one solid scoring opportunity in the first half. Central’s Zach Zurita had a shot to the lower left corner stopped by Sacred Heart keeper Tucker Hackett. The Pioneers just missed scoring before that on a header that went off the crossbar.

The win is Central’s first in conference play this season.

“You have to get your home games,” said Green. “If we can all the homes games and win one away we’ll be guaranteed to be in a playoff spot. So that’s our goal right now. The guys were rewarded for their efforts today.”

Central will play on the road against NJIT on Oct. 15 before returning home on Saturday to play Fairleigh Dickinson University at 7 p.m.