Goal-filled finale sees men’s soccer tie with Rams

Four goals in the second half made for a riveting 2-2 draw

Goal-filled finale sees men’s soccer tie with Rams

American University men’s soccer (0-1-1) hosted the Virginia Commonwealth Rams (0-1-2) on Sept. 1 for their home opener to the 2023 season at Reeve’s Field, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

A scoreless first half reflected a fairly even 45 minutes, but it did see the Eagles connect some fluid one-touch passing sequences to advance the ball. 

“I thought our first half was good to be honest with you,” head coach Zach Samol said. “I liked what we did, and we had chances to score.”  The most notable of those chances being senior forward Robbie Matei’s 32nd minute effort that saw him turn and fire from just outside of the box, rattling the left post. 

From the start of the second half the Rams looked like the better side, winning most midfield battles and forcing the Eagles to be vigilant in their defending. In the 52nd minute, the Rams opened the scoring when sophomore defender Gerardo Castillo narrowly split the Eagles’ backline with a through ball to freshman midfielder Andrey Salmeron, who rounded the keeper and put the ball into an empty net. 

VCU looked in control of the game, until AU equalized in the 79th minute against the run of play. After being awarded a flurry of corner kicks, the Eagles eventually capitalized when senior defender Nevin Baer converted off of freshman midfielder Reyes Parra’s delivery, giving Parra the first assist of his collegiate career.

Immediately from kickoff, VCU wasted no time recovering, as they found junior forward Camilo Comi on the left who then beat a challenge and fizzed a low cross into the box to be put away by junior forward Nolan Coetzee.

In the minutes following the trade of goals, AU looked the superior side, keeping the ball high in the opposition’s half. They made the most of this with a second equalizer in the 83rd minute. Having just been subbed on two minutes prior, sophomore midfielder Troy Elgersma got on the scoresheet with a clinical finish on the back of a slipped through ball by Matei. Each team had efforts go narrowly wide in the closing minutes, on the way to the final result of a 2-2 draw. 

“The guys are disappointed because they’ve given up some soft goals and feel like they should walk away with a win,” Samol said.“And I feel the same way. But I’m also very happy with our response to going behind and coming back twice. I’m pretty proud of that.” 


This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis.

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