The GW men’s soccer team dropped its fourth game of the season on Saturday, losing under the lights at George Mason 3-2. In a hard fought battle, GW fell short when the Patriots scored two unanswered goals in a 1:07 span in the second period.
“This was our best played game, and that’s why it was so disappointing,” junior Matt Miller said. “We were all pumped up when (senior Arnar Johannsson) gave us the lead, and then it just seemed as if we made three or four mistakes in a row and in about five minutes our emotions did a complete turnaround. It was devastating.”
The Patriots, who were trailing 2-1 in the second period, put together a late comeback that demoralized GW. The momentum began to turn in the 66th minute when the Patriots were able to hold possession and sustain an attack. With the ball being held on the Colonials’ side, sophomore Steve Alabi deflected an errant pass past GW sophomore goalkeeper Derek Bliss. A minute later, with the Patriots still in control, junior Karim Manneh was fouled just outside the box, resulting in a free kick. Manneh capitalized on the opportunity and put GMU up for good, 3-2.
The Patriots’ run ruined what had been an impressive stretch by the Colonials earlier in the half. Trailing 1-0 at halftime, GW (1-4) tied the game in the 59th minute when freshman forward Joseph Siegel recorded his first goal of the season and his fourth point of the year. Siegel blasted a thirty-plus-yard shot into the upper left corner of the net, tying the game at one.
GW then took the lead in the 62nd minute when Johannsson out-raced a Patriot defender to collect a through ball in the penalty box from sophomore Benjamin Mortimer. Johannsson redirected the ball past GMU’s outstretched goalie for his fourth goal of the season and eighth point of the year.
At this point, Miller said the team was playing with the most confidence it has had all year. Players on the bench were on their feet and players on the field were playing at their highest level of intensity. But in a span of less than two minutes, that all changed.
GW will look to rebound from the loss Thursday when the Colonials head to Santa Clara, Calif., for the Adidas Classic.
The Colonials’ first opponent of the tournament is University of San Francisco, one of the tougher West Coast teams in the country. Miller said the Colonials have their backs against the wall this weekend after Saturday’s defeat.
“These teams (at the tournament) are so good,” Miller said. “If we can leave California with two wins, it’d be amazing, and if we leave with at least one win it would still be very good. These are two very important games for us, as close to must-win games as can be.”