The Liberty Flames played the Fort Wayne Mastodons to a 1-1, two overtime tie in a tight, defensive contest, Friday in the opening game of the Dayton Tournament at Baujan Field.
Liberty moves to 2-1-1 on the season. Fort Wayne, who records a tie for the second straight contest, is now 1-1-3. The contest was the first ever meeting between the two programs and the first overtime game of the season for Liberty.
Play between the two teams in the first half was even. Each team scored their only goal of the contest and attempted seven shots in the match's opening half.
Early offensive pressure by the Flames resulted a goal during the 18th minute. Working the right side of the box, Tresor Mbuyu, the nation's leading goal scorer, ripped a shot wide left to begin a Liberty shooting outburst during the 14th minute. Two minutes later, midfielder Pepe Segarra pumped a shot on net, forcing Fort Wayne goalkeeper Brendan Stangel to make a save.
On its third unanswered shot of the span, Liberty took an early lead. Moving up the right side of the field, defender Alex Dominguez found the foot of Mendoza. The midfielder chipped the ball past a Mastodon defender and into the box. After moving around the defender and into open space, Mendoza lobbed a shot over Stangel and into the top of the net for a 1-0 advantage.
Twelve minutes later, Fort Wayne knotted the match. Carrying possession over a three minute period, the Mastodons broke through for their only goal of the contest on their third shot of the span. Midfielder Zach Tom pushed a pass to forward Oscar Umayadu, who netted his first goal of the year, tying the contest at 1-1 during the 30th minute.
After a shot high by Mastodon midfielder Matthew Lieshout off a corner kick during the 31st minute, Liberty held Fort Wayne without a shot the rest of the half. Meanwhile, Flames' midfielders Segarra and Shaun Stocker each forced saves by Stangel with shots during the final 14 minutes.
The game headed to overtime after a scoreless second half. Liberty managed three shots in the half, with a shot by Mbuyu during the 60th minute forcing a save by Stangel. Fort Wayne had seven shots in the half, with three falling on goal. However, Flames goalkeeper Knoebel was up to the challenge stopping all three.
Liberty's last shot of the second half came during the 73rd minute, an attempt which was high by Stocker. Knoebel stopped a shot by Fort Wayne's Narcis Sprecic at the 83:00 mark and the Flames' defense smoother an attempt off a corner kick in the closing minute of regulation, sending the contest overtime.
After a shot high by the Mastodons' Tom during the 92nd minute, the Flames held their opponents without an attempt the rest of the first overtime period. Setting the pace of play, Liberty took the final three shots of period. However, Mbuyu, Segarra and forward Matthew Zacyzk each sailed their attempts high.
Each squad took two shots in the second overtime. Fort Wayne got off the last shot of the contest as time expired. The Mastodons organized for a corner kick with less than 10 seconds left. With all 11 men forward, the kick was headed high.
Fort Wayne held a 17-15 edge in shots, while holding a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks during the 110 minutes of play. The Mastodons put seven shots on goal, while the Flames had five.
Stangel recorded four saves for Fort Wayne.
Liberty will face the host team, the Dayton Flyers, to close the Dayton Tournament at Baujan Field, Sunday. Match time is set for 2 p.m.