NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack men's soccer team was unable to erase a two-goal deficit late in the match as it dropped a 2-1 result to #6 Franklin Pierce Tuesday evening at Martone-Mejail Field. The loss sinks the Warriors to 6-5-2 overall and 4-4-0 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Ravens remain unbeaten on the year with a 10-0-1 record this fall with a 7-0-1 mark in league action.
Robbie Sabadoz (Ottawa, Ontario) had Merrimack's best chance early in the first half. Franklin Pena (San Salvador, El Salvador) dropped a lofted ball in behind the Ravens' defense for Sabadoz to run on to. The senior settled the ball and fired a low shot towards the right corner of the cage but the visitors' goalkeeper made the save to keep the Warriors off the board.
At the halftime intermission, the two sides were deadlocked in a scoreless tie.
The Warriors held a narrow 5-4 lead in shots through 45 minutes of play. Merrimack also earned three corner kicks in the opening frame while conceding just one.
Franklin Pierce tallied the game's first goal in the 77th minute as Diego Tabares netted his seventh of the year. Tabares took a feed from Victor Goncalves on the right side before cutting inside to the middle of the pitch. Tabares fired a left-footed shot that curled into the right side of the frame to give the Ravens a 1-0 lead.
Paul Latif notched the visitors' second goal of the night just one minute later. Latif broke in on goal alone and sent a low attempt into the right corner of the net to double Franklin Pierce's advantage.
Sabadoz cut the margin to one goal with his fifth marker of the season. Derek Simpson (Ludlow, MA) heaved a long throw-in from the left sideline into the penalty box that bounced past everyone to Sabadoz on the far post. Sabadoz struck a one-time shot inside the six-yard box, burying the ball into the left corner.
Elvert Bodden (La Ceiba, Honduras) nearly knotted the game in the waning moments. Bodden's header rang off of the crossbar and the Raven's defense cleared the ball to alleviate the heavy pressure as Merrimack seeked an equalizer.
Both squads managed to take 14 shots in the match but Franklin Pierce owned a 7-6 edge in shots on goal. The Warriors finished with six corner kicks while the Ravens were awarded five in the contest.
Mattias Drummond (Partille, Sweden) stopped five shots on the night for the home team. Vinny Papageorgiou registered five saves in goal for Franklin Pierce to earn his 11th win of the year.
"I thought that we worked hard all night and that we played really well," said head coach Tony Martone. "We need to put a bit more pressure on the other team in our offensive end. The team showed determination and intensity tonight."
Merrimack will look to right the ship as it travels to take on Assumption October 15 in a critical Northeast-10 Conference match.