Men's Soccer Battles Defending Champs to Scoreless Draw

Saturday, October 12, 2013 - page 2

It may take until the season’s final moments to sort out the jumbled Centennial Conference men’s soccer standings. To wit, over 100 minutes of play wasn’t enough to decide Muhlenberg’s road tilt with Haverford, as the two playoff-hopeful teams battled to a scoreless stalemate.

Danny Pinto Despite leaving with their first goalless draw since 2011, the Mules (7-5-1, 2-2-1) had their chances at an outright victory – as did the Fords, the defending CC champion. The teams combined for 17 shots on goal (eight for Muhlenberg) and 28 total, with each team managing 14 in an evenly-matched contest that featured plenty of high-quality, end-to-end action.

Junior goalie Danny Pinto made eight saves to post the second shutout of his career for the Mules, who remained knotted with the Fords (8-3-1, 2-2-1) and three other teams in a five-way tie for fourth in the CC standings. Entering Saturday, eight of the conference’s 10 squads were within two points of each other, and that didn’t change at the end of the day’s action. A victory for either team, then, would have done wonders for its position – and each came close to getting one.

Muhlenberg’s best chance came seven minutes into the first overtime period, when senior forward Jeff Reinhart was stoned on a breakaway after freshman Nick Sarkos played him in all alone with a perfect through ball.

The Fords nearly sent the Mules home on a sour note with just over three minutes remaining, but a powerful blast from outside the box rocketed off the post and Muhlenberg stayed alive. The Mules earned four corner kicks in the extra sessions, including three in a row in the first two minutes of overtime, but were unable to net a winner. Thanks to Pinto and a strong defensive effort, Muhlenberg still left the Main Line with a point.

Making his second start of the season and the sixth of his career, Pinto (left) was up to every challenge in a game that ended on the cusp of dusk. The junior was sturdy on corner kicks, rising confidently to snare crosses and balls played into the box. He also got some crucial help from his defense in the first overtime, when junior Bryan Attanasio was able to clear a Haverford shot off the line to keep the game scoreless.
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