AKRON, Ohio – The University of Denver men’s soccer team got an 88th minute breakthrough from redshirt-freshman Brooks Crawford (Greenwood Village, Colo.) to send the Pioneers past fourth-ranked Akron in the first of Denver’s two preseason friendlies Saturday night at Cub Cadet Field at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“In the fourth day of the preseason to travel with a bunch of new guys out of their comfort zone to a place like Akron and get a result late is a testament to the group,” head coach Jamie Franks said. “We were able to play everybody, and we feel like we got better today. To come out here and test ourselves against a team that’s been to two out of the last three College Cups was great for us. We’re going to take it one day at a time and grow from this performance.”
Senior midfielder Moshe Perez (Shim’a, Israel) tallied the assist on the Pioneers lone goal of the match.
Denver outshot Akron 7-5, scoring on its only shot on target. Redshirt-senior goalkeeper Nick Gardner (Marvin, N.C.) was credited with his only save in the first half.
“I’m excited about this group and how many young guys got minutes and looked comfortable,” Franks said. “From the team last November to where we are at now, these guys have pushed themselves. Guys like Scott Devoss and Andre (Shinyashiki) are the heart and soul of this team. They challenge this group and they are never satisfied. As long as we can stay on this path and can continue to grow, we’re going to be an extremely hard team to beat.”
The two teams played an additional 30 minutes following the match. Akron’s Faisal Ghaffur scored in the 98th minute off an assist from Peter Zecca for the only goal of extra time.