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Liberty-American Play to 1-1, 2 OT Tie

Published: September 17, 2016

      LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Liberty Flames men’s soccer team battled the American Eagles to 1-1, 2 overtime at Osborne Stadium, Friday evening.

      Tresor Mbuyu’s team-leading fourth goal of the season in the first half gave the host Flames a 1-0 advantage in the non-conference match-up, before an Eagles’ goal off a free kick at 76:01 of the second half sent the game to overtime. In the two extra 10-minute periods, neither team was able to break the deadlock.

      Liberty moves to 3-2-1 on the season. It was the second straight overtime game for the Flames, as Liberty fell to Buffalo, 2-1, in overtime, Sunday. American extends it mark to 3-1-3 on the season.

      Liberty goalkeeper James Knoebel recorded a career-high 10 saves on the evening, topping his previous high of eight made against Buffalo, Sunday. American goalkeeper Lucas Belanger made six saves.

      On the counter attack during the fifth minute, the Flames came close to taking an early advantage. A shot from 20 yards out off the foot of Liberty midfielder Kyle Carr just skimmed the top of the crossbar, just missing its intended target.

      A shot from the left side of the 18-yard box by American forward Panos Nakhid hit the far right post during the 16th minute and rebounded back into play. Eagle midfielder Joe Iraola gathered the loose ball and fired a shot towards the far post, which the Flames’ Knoebel caught chest high to end the Eagle attack.

      In the 30th minute, Liberty midfielder Jovanni Chavez broke free at midfield and made a long run down the middle of the field. Drawing two Eagle defenders towards him, Chavez pushed the ball into the 18-yard box for Mbuyu, hitting the forward breaking into the box from the left side in stride. The forward ripped a shot into the open right side of the net for a 1-0 host advantage.
      The second half saw the same back and forth play as the first. After Liberty was able to fend off back-to-back Eagle corner kicks during the 70th minute, American netted the equalizer during the 77th.

On a free kick near the right sideline, Iraola lofted the ball into the box, where it grazed the head of a Liberty defender going up for a header, trying to clear the ball from the box and into the net.

      During the closing seconds of regulation, Liberty organized for a corner kick, but was unable to get a shot off.

      Both overtime periods saw each team generate several shot opportunities, but neither was able to claim the win.

      Liberty takes to the road for a non-conference match against the N.C. State Wolfpack, Tuesday. Kickoff at Dial Field in Raleigh, N.C., is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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