The Eagles top Army in an overtime win

Golden goal in first four minutes of overtime seals the game

The Eagles top Army in an overtime win
#6 Malachy McGovern taking the game-winning header in overtime against Army

The American University Eagles defeated the Army Black Knights 2-1 in an exciting overtime victory on Oct. 16.

The first half of the match was a hard-fought battle between the two teams. The Eagles had a rough start to the match, as they could not break through Army’s defense, and AU often lost the ball early in their attacking attempts. 

“We actually thought coming in that they would be a little bit more aggressive with their pressure,” head coach Zach Samol said. 

Army did not bring pressure early as the Eagles thought, and the Black Knights instead came out with a more conservative approach, Samol said.

“I think at the beginning, Army frustrated us, I don’t think we handled it all that well,” Samol said. “I think as the game wore on and wore on we did find moments where we could play through them, build through them and break them down.”

Army’s deception got them on the board first with a goal from senior forward John Poncy, assisted by junior midfielder Justin McStay, in the 22nd minute. It didn’t take long for the Eagles to bounce back with a goal of their own from senior forward David Coly in the 25th minute.

Sophomore midfielder Ethan Boyle passed a short corner to freshman forward Zemi Rodriguez. After the two worked their way closer to the box, Boyle sent an exceptional pass into the box that Coly cleanly headed into the goal for his sixth goal of the season.

The second half was no less of a battle than the first, but as storm clouds formed over the match, neither the Eagles nor the Black Knights could score. The Eagles had eight shots to the Black Knights’ five in the second, but only two were on goal for both teams.

Overtime kicked off with gusts of wind sweeping over Reeves Field, but the Eagles were aggressive and put the game away early. Army failed to get a shot off in overtime as the Eagles dominated possession, getting a corner kick in the 93rd minute.

Junior midfielder Jack Green took the corner kick, hitting it cleanly into the box to find the leaping senior defender Malachy McGovern. McGovern easily beat the two defenders on him to head the ball into the ground, bouncing it into the back of the net to seal the game and get his first goal since August 2019. As if on cue with the golden goal, rain began to pour on the field to give an even more dramatic feeling to an already dramatic end.

This win is crucial for AU — after a rough 3-0 loss to Loyola Maryland on the road, the victory put the team back to winning form.

“Sometimes those kinds of defeats can be a turning point and they can go one of two ways,” McGovern said. “Hopefully from today, you can see that it is going the right way for us and getting us back on track.”

The Eagles will return home to play Colgate on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET after a pair of away games, the first against number 23 James Madison University on Oct. 19 ended in a hard-fought 0-0 draw. The second against Lafayette on Oct. 24 ended in a 2-1 OT victory for the Eagles.

lclarke@theeagleonline.com 

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