Sept. 7, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs already knew they faced a challenge in their season opener against a Northwestern team that reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA College Cup last year, but it didn't help that the Wildcats already had two games under their belts. Nevertheless, Yale put up a valiant fight but dropped a 3-1 decision before a big crowd at Reese Stadium on the opening day of the Yale Soccer Classic.
"We looked like a team that was playing its first game," said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. "We were a little bit anxious and made some mistakes. There also were some promising moments, so we have plenty to build on."
Eamon O'Neill had a goal and an assist to lead 10th-ranked Northwestern. Geoff Fallon and Matt Eliason also scored.
When O'Neill scored early in the second half, it gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead and it looked like they might cruise to victory. Instead, the Bulldogs rallied. Liam Leonard scored on a penalty kick at 62:45. He was awarded the kick after Northwestern goalkeeper Misha Rosenthal tripped a Yale player in the box.
Less than two minutes later, Yale had a great chance to tie the score, but Rosenthal dove to his left to stop a Frank Piasta shot that appeared to be headed into the right corner.
"That was really the turning point of the game," Tompkins said. "Their goalie played really well. They are a team playing with a lot of confidence."
The Wildcats (3-0) sealed the victory in the 75th minute when Eliason took a pass from David Roth, made a nifty move around a Yale defender and scored.
Northwestern outshot the Bulldogs 18-12. Erik Geiger made nine saves in goal for the Bulldogs, while Rosenthal stopped four shots for the Wildcats.
Fallon scored the first goal of the game late in the first half. He settled an O'Neill cross on the right side and slipped a shot past Geiger.
O'Neill's goal came when he dribbled down that left side and fired a hard shot that Geiger got a piece of but couldn't stop from rolling into the net.
The Bulldogs nearly scored in the 59th minute, but Rosenthal made a diving stop of a Leonard header.
In the first game of the day, Dartmouth edged Sacred Heart 2-0. The Yale Classic resumes on Sunday when Dartmouth and Northwestern play at noon followed by Yale and Sacred Heart at 2:30 p.m.
"We'll be okay," Tompkins said. "We'll come out ready to go on Sunday against Sacred Heart."
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity