GW Men's Soccer Atop Atlantic 10 Following 2-0 Win Over Temple
WASHINGTON - The George Washington men's soccer team scored a pair of second-half goals, and junior goalkeeper Alejandro Almodovar made six saves to help the Colonials post their second straight shutout in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Temple at Mount Vernon Field.
GW evens its overall record at 4-4-2 and is in a two-team tie with Fordham atop the Atlantic 10 standings with six points following a 2-0-0 start to league play this weekend. The Colonials also improve to 3-0-0 at home this fall and have not allowed a goal in more than 273 minutes of regulation time.
Temple (5-6-0, 1-1-0 A-10) enjoyed the run of play in the first half, outshooting GW, 11-5, during the opening 45 minutes. The Colonials had a difficult time dispossessing the Owls in their attacking third, but Almodovar made three saves on long-range attempts to keep the match scoreless.
"I think they bossed the first half. They were in control, so we decided to change the tactics at halftime," said head coach George Lidster. "We more or less mirrored them with a 4-3-3 in the second half and said 'We're at home and have confidence in our guys.' It paid off, and we controlled the second half."
GW indeed controlled the final 45 minutes and tallied goals in the 58th and 89th minutes to earn the three points. Junior Mattia Melillo, who had two goals in Friday's 4-0 rout of Saint Joseph's, initiated the attack to register assists on both goals and finished the weekend with six points.
In the 58th minute, Melillo chipped the ball down the left wing to sophomore Abdul Shaban, who sent a cross into the box toward junior Seth Rudolph. Rudolph slid to reach the pass and whipped a shot back across the face of goal to net his second game-winner of the season.
The GW defense, paced in the middle by sophomore Alex Sandland and substitute Jamie LaFleur, employed an offside trap on defense that proved effective - especially in the second half - and forced Temple into eight violations.
However, the Owls began to pressure the Colonials' back four as the second half continued. Dalton Carroll snapped a header onto frame in the 80th minute, but Almodovar had the attempt covered as it struck the crossbar, and GW lifted the ball away from danger.
As Temple pressed for an equalizer, GW took advantage of the counterattack when Melillo was able to weave his way through midfield to start the attack for the final goal. He dribbled through two defenders near the sideline, then played a pass ahead to senior Yoni Berhanu, who quickly changed field to junior Zach Abaie on the right side of the box. Abaie measured his attempt and blasted a dipping shot past TU goalkeeper Bobby Rosato with 1:37 remaining to secure the result.
With seven league matches still on the schedule, Lidster summed up the two-win weekend succinctly. "This is a great start, and we now have to try to get something from next weekend."
The Colonials make a Midwest swing through Ohio next weekend with matches at Dayton and defending A-10 champion Xavier Friday night and Sunday afternoon, respectively.
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