Lindhe, Leon Propel Warriors to Double-OT Win at No. 24 Southern Connecticut
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Senior back Olof Lindhe (Stockholm, Sweden) headed home the game-clinching goal in the 108th minute on a feed from fellow defender Julio Leon (Caracas, Venezuela), and the Merrimack men's soccer team completed another dramatic, comeback, double-overtime victory by a 2-1 margin against No. 24 Southern Connecticut in Northeast-10 Conference action on Sunday afternoon at Jess Dow Field.
For the third consecutive outing, the Warriors (6-2-1, 4-2 NE-10) found themselves in sudden-death overtime with the score tied after the first 90 minutes of play, and for the third straight game – and for the fourth time this season – the Warriors managed to walk off in the most dramatic of fashions, as Lindhe found the back of the net with just over two minutes to play to give the visitors the win.
After a 1-0 double-overtime victory a week ago at AIC, and a similar win on Wednesday night at Saint Anselm, this time it was Lindhe heading home a long cross from Leon – who had scored the Warriors' only other goal of the game to tie the match at 1-1 – to keep the incredible streak of dramatic walk-off victories intact.
In total this season, Merrimack has gone to overtime on six occasions and owns an impressive 4-1-1 mark, with a tie on Sept. 1 against Dominican and its only loss in sudden death coming on Sept. 5 at UMass-Lowell.
On Sunday, both teams enjoyed plenty of scoring opportunities as both goalkeepers combined for 17 saves on the game; Merrimack sophomore Jose Silva (Northborough, Mass.) posted eight stops in net while Greg Cumpstone notched nine saves for the home side.
Doural Scott put the Owls (4-2-1, 3-2-1 NE-10) in front in the 36th minute after burying a through ball from Francisco Lara into the open net, as Silva was unable to stop the cross after coming off of his line in an attempt to break up the pass attempt.
That lead would hold through the remainder of the first half, one that Southern Connecticut controlled by virtue of its 11-4 advantage in shot attempts. Silva recorded five of his eight saves in the first half alone while Cumpstone turned aside four attempts.
But in the second stanza, the Warriors turned the tide and upped the pressure, attempting 10 shots compared to only seven for the Owls. Finally, in the 81st minute, Leon bent a beautiful set piece into the upper-90 to tie the match up at 1-1 with less than 10 minutes to play.
The first 10-minute overtime session was controlled by the Owls, who held a 4-0 edge in shot attempts while Silva managed a huge save to send the game to double overtime. Finally, with 2:15 to play, Lindhe headed home a perfect cross from Leon to clinch the win in the 108th minute.
"I couldn't be more proud of our guys again today," head coach Tony Martone said afterward. "Sometimes, like the other day, we need a lucky bounce to win it, but we really responded well in the second half today and I think both these teams deserved the victory. But hey, we managed to get goals when we needed them, and another big win for us."
Southern Connecticut out-shot Merrimack in total by a 25-19 margin while the Warriors owned a 7-5 edge in corner kicks. Both teams combined for 25 fouls.
Winners of a season-high four straight contests, Merrimack now finds itself tied for second place in the NE-10 standings and will return home next Saturday, Oct. 6, for a conference showdown against Stonehill. First kick from Martone-Mejail Field is set for 1 p.m.