Bethlehem, PA - The USMMA men's soccer team suffered a tough 2-1 loss to the Juniata Eagles Sunday afternoon in Landmark conference action. The Eagles scored two goals in the first nine minutes of play and the Mariners were unable to erase the deficit despite a first half goal of their own.
"We came out slow today and played poor in the first 15 minutes, that cost us the ball game," said USMMA Head Coach Michael Smolens. "We were pleased with the fact that our guys battled back and had a number of chances to tie the match, but we are disappointed we came up short in this important match. What we need to do now after this quick session of games is to prepare for a strong Scarnton team on Wednesday."
Juniata (12-4-2, 3-2-1 Landmark) got on the scoreboard in the third minute with a header from Nick Weit following a corner kick. The Eagles increased their lead to 2-0 with a shot that found the left side of the net from Dane Azeles.
Merchant Marine (6-6-1, 3-2-0 Landmark) posted a goal before the end of the first half after Alex Palermo-Re (Manassas, VA) deposited the ball in the back of the net. The goal came from a set piece play on a corner kick with Kyle Arestivo (Northport, NY) earning an assist.
The Mariners controlled the ball offensively most of the second half but was unable to find an equalizer. In the 78th minute, Nick Vogel (Mechanicsburg, PA) almost tied it at 2-2, but his effort just sailed right of the frame. The Mariners came close to tying the game once more when Dan Weldon (Holland Township, NJ) shot in the 83rd minute was deflected over the net.
The USMMA soccer team returns to action Wednesday night as they travel to Scranton to take on the Royals for a 7:30 pm kick-off.