CHRIS GRIVAS/THE HOYA
CHRIS GRIVAS/THE HOYA

A late goal from freshman defender Joshua Yaro sealed the 1-0 win for the No. 11 Georgetown men’s soccer team over crosstown rival American on Tuesday afternoon. Playing on the Eagles’ home field, Yaro scored his first collegiate career goal in the 85th minute off of a corner kick by senior forward Steve Neumann.

The Eagles started the game strong and pressed theHoyas for much of the first half. American had six shots in the opening 45 minutes and forced Georgetown junior goalkeeper Tomas Gomez to make a difficult save. According to Gomez, the Hoyas knew that their opponent would start strong.

“This is the one game on their schedule that they circle. For us, sometimes we tend to look past it when we shouldn’t. The first half, they came out flying,” Gomez said.

Georgetown also had to overcome its own sluggish start and lack of focus. Head Coach Brian Wiesepointed to the lack of normal road-game routine, a step down in the quality of the opponent from the previous game and off-the-field distractions as reasons for the Hoyas’ tough opening.

“If we could do it again, we would have gotten a hotel and a catered meal,” Wiese said. “Guys are rolling out of class and they are going in vans and they are eating at Leo’s.”

Despite strong play by the Eagles for most of the first half, the scored remained tied at zero after 45 minutes. During the break, Wiese had a specific instruction for his team.

“I wasn’t super happy with them at halftime, but the last message to the team going out was don’t get frustrated. Be patient. It might take you to overtime to win the game.”

In the second half, the Hoyas played a much more confident and comfortable game. Georgetown earned three corner kicks and forced the American goalie to make six saves, compared to one corner and one shot on goal in the first half. The defense also halved the number of corner kicks and shots they allowed to the Eagles. After 202 minutes of scoreless soccer played by Georgetown, a run that stretched back to a 3-2 win over Princeton on Sept. 22, Yaro scored off Neumann’s corner kick from the left side. The first goal of Yaro’s collegiate career would be enough for the Hoyas, as they held on to the 1-0 lead until the final whistle.

“We went in with the mentality that we would get it in no matter what,” Yaro said of his goal. “It was a good ball from Stevie. It was in the right place, I just happened to be there.”

The Georgetown defense recorded its sixth shutout of the season, but American had several near-misses. The Eagles took as many first half shots against the Hoyas as No. 4 Creighton had on Sept. 28, and had more corner kicks. Nevertheless, the defense will count any game where it does not allow a goal as a success, even if the team did not play up to its usual high standards.

“Every team has its off days, and I wouldn’t say we did a terrible job, because obviously they didn’t score any goals. No matter how terrible we play, if we don’t let in any goals we have done our job,” Yaro said.

While Yaro will deservedly receive praise for his game-winning goal, Wiese pointed to Neumann as one of the most influential players in the game. Neumann did not present the offensive threat that he has in past games, according to Wiese, but his composure and attitude on the field helped his team win and justified his captain’s armband.

“I thought his personality and attitude was what really keyed the win. He didn’t get frustrated, and the team takes on his personality through the game,” Wiese said.

Overall, the Hoyas will be happy to walk away from Reeves Field with a win. American University might not be a Big East opponent, but a loss or tie would have been a disappointing result.

“For Yaro to score with five minutes to go,” Gomez said, “there was a sense of relief that we ended the game in regular time.”

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