WASHINGTON, DC – Sophomore Bakary Coulibaly headed in senior Tansu Korkmaz's corner kick in the 72nd minute for what proved to be the game-winning goal as the University of the District of Columbia men's soccer team defeated Dowling College 2-1 for the program's first ever league win as a member of the East Coast Conference.
"It was a great feeling to get our first ECC win," second year head coach Matt Thompson said. "I think we deserved to win – had some great opportunities, and we took two of them. We made it difficult for ourselves getting another silly red card, but we battled through it with 10 men."
With the win, the Firebirds snapped a four-game losing streak and evened their overall record at 4-4-1 while also improving to 1-2 in league play. Dowling, who was coming off a 2-1 victory over the 10th ranked team in the East Region, Nyack, fell to 2-7-1 overall and 0-4 in league play.
Dowling was the aggressor early on, taking five shots (four on goal) and a corner kick within the first 30 minutes of action before ultimately scoring the game's first goal on a seven-yard strike from inside the box by Stefan Draskovic. John Ortega was credited with the assist. The Golden Lions would keep that 1-0 advantage as the horn sounded for intermission.
Just seven-and-a-half minutes into the second half, the Firebirds tied the score on freshman Elio Hernandez's first career goal. Hernandez (Health – Gaithersburg, MD/Northwest HS) headed in an indirect kick that senior Adriel Garcia (Physical Education – Sau Paulo, Brazil/Anglo Campinas) floated into the box for his team-high fifth assist of the season.
District of Columbia stayed on the offensive, out-shooting Dowling 11-4 in the second half and putting five shots on goal. At the 71:02 mark, Coulibaly (Electrical Engineering – Hyattsville, MD/La Lumiere HS) headed in a beautiful corner kick into the box by Korkmaz (TV Production – Istanbul, Turkey/Ozel Dogan Lisesi) for the game-winner.
The Golden Lions very nearly forced a 2-2 tie when Ortega's corner kick sailed into the box and Firebirds graduate goalkeeper Omar Gonzalez (Business Administration – Los Angeles, CA/Park View HS) mishandled the ball and it trickled into the goal; however, a foul by a Dowling player was called on the play and the goal was waived off.
Thompson said he was really proud of the way his team played today in what he referred to as a "must-win" game as the Firebirds attempt to make some noise in their first year as members of the conference.
"Our desire to win the game really was evident today," Thompson said. "We really needed this game – this gives us a chance to stay in the playoff hunt."
District of Columbia will now play a four-game New York road-swing against four ECC teams, beginning with NYIT on October 3rd at 4 p.m.