by Pete Janny, Asst. Sports Editor
Looking to avenge Wednesday night’s 3-2 double overtime loss at Rider, Manhattan (3-8, 2-3 MAAC) met the Marist Red Foxes (6-6, 3-2 MAAC) this past Saturday for a late afternoon showdown at Gaelic Park. Every MAAC game is meaningful, but this one had added importance considering both teams were tied for sixth place in the conference standings entering the game.
Surprisingly, Manhattan got into an offensive shootout for once on their way to a crushing 3-2 loss. A goal by Marist’s Justin Jaime with six seconds left proved to be the difference in the game.
The opening 45 minutes were ordinary at best. Manhattan’s early inactivity on the offensive end set the tone for a disappointing half for the Jaspers. On the other hand, although a bit inconsistent, the Red Foxes showcased some of their impressive offensive talent a few times throughout the half.
Only five minutes in, Marist came very close to scoring when Samad Bounthong accelerated down the right side of the box before sending a pass to the back post intended for teammate Allen Gavilanes. His touch on the ball led to an errant shot that went wide of the net to save Manhattan from facing an early 1-0 deficit. Marist raised eyebrows again about seven minutes later when Marcus Ginman let a shot fly from just outside the box on the right side that luckily went over the net. Marist’s offensive aggressiveness out of the gate explained why the team had scored 18 goals in 12 games before arriving in Riverdale for this match-up.
In addition to causing headaches on the counter-attack, Marist was also making Manhattan work on corner kicks. Marist earned six corners in the first half alone against Manhattan’s zero with most of them requiring Manhattan to exert a lot of energy to make the necessary clearances.
Of all the chances Manhattan had in the first half, their best probably came in the 31st minute when senior Noah Amissah trapped a ball just outside the left corner of the box before unleashing a strike that was blocked by a red shirt. The defender came up clutch with that block because the ball might’ve been destined for the back of the net.
Two minutes after Amissah’s chance, Marist got on the board first thanks to a remarkable display of teamwork. Marist neutralized the Manhattan defense with some crisp passing that culminated with Jaime finding Bounthong on the far post for a tap-in finish. In retrospect, it proved vital that Marist was at least able to score one goal while the Manhattan offense was harmless.
The remainder of the half was also dictated by the Red Foxes with their momentum only growing stronger after the goal. In need of a recovery coming out of the break, the Jaspers fortunately woke up.
Six minutes into the second half, Manhattan junior Brandon Joseph-Baudi created a breakaway for himself using his dangerous speed, however, he was met at the top of the box by the Marist goalie who arrived to make a nice play on the ball. Even so, Joseph-Baudi still somehow retained possession of the ball and was able to get off a shot near the end line that hit the crossbar to go out for a Marist comer kick. If not for the unfavorable angle he was positioned at, Joseph-Baudi most likely would’ve scored due to the goalie being out of position. It was a tough break at a time when Manhattan could’ve really used a goal.
Fortunately for the fans in attendance, this exciting play was only the start of a promising half for their team.
In the 58th minute, Manhattan senior Tristan Doran wreaked havoc when junior Desmond Cole found him on a through ball down the right side that led to a shot by him from a long ways out that went wide right. Despite not making the most of the play, Doran’s day was far from over. In the 72nd minute, Manhattan broke through thanks to Doran’s speed and competitive spirit. Upon receiving another ball down the right sideline that was similar to the last, Doran picked out junior Berti Fourrier with a nice ball to the far post that hit the outstretched legs of the French native in stride for an easy finish. The score was now leveled at one apiece with the momentum swinging Manhattan’s way.
Just over a minute later, Doran was on the move again.
Using his speed to pressure the Marist backline, Doran was able to catch them sleeping when he stole a ball in the 73rd minute for a breakaway goal. The shot was far from easy as the goalie wasted no time leaving his domain, thus forcing Doran to execute a chip shot to secure his first goal of the season. Doran rushed to the area of the team bench to celebrate the moment, while the Manhattan faithful rose to their feet in jubilation. A minute later, Manhattan scored again, but it was called off because of a purported hand ball on Fourrier before he deposited the ball into the back of the net. It was a tough break for Manhattan that would actually come back to bite them.
Despite all the good vibes produced by Manhattan’s offensive outburst, the job was still not finished, especially against an offense of Marist’s caliber. As fate would have it, the Marist offense ascended to new heights over the last 15 minutes of play, leading to Manhattan’s eventual downfall.
After hitting the crossbar with 13 minutes left, Marist silenced the crowd by scoring with 10 minutes left thanks to the heroics of Stefan Copetti. That goal was assisted by Jaime.
Just when it looked like Manhattan was ready to deal with overtime for the fifth time this season, Marist abruptly ended things. With six seconds left, Jaime eluded his defender on the left side before burying a ball into the right corner of the net. It was one of the most heartbreaking losses you will ever see in a soccer game considering Manhattan led just 10 minutes earlier.
Despite the loss, Manhattan outpaced the Red Foxes in shots 11-10 thanks to an 8-4 second-half advantage.
The Jaspers will look to get their season back on the right track when they host Fairfield (3-5-4, 1-2-2 MAAC) this Wednesday, October 23rd at 7 PM. Three days later on Saturday, October 26th, they will square off with Canisius (2-11, 1-5 MAAC) in Western New York. Kick-off for that road game is slated for 7 PM.