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Dominate Second Half Brings Wilmington Men’s Soccer Back for 3-2 Victory at Philadelphia

Dominate Second Half Brings Wilmington Men’s Soccer Back for 3-2 Victory at Philadelphia

Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Bernal's shot for his goal in the 79th minute, which proved to eb the game-winner, taken by James Jones.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - A dominating second half allowed the Wilmington University men's soccer team to come back from an early deficit and defeat Philadelphia, 3-2, in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action on Wednesday afternoon at Ravenhill Field.

The Wildcats (10-3-1, 6-2-1 CACC) overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit with three consecutive goals in the second half. Philadelphia (4-9-2, 3-6-1 CACC) cut into the lead with a goal with under five minutes to play, but the Wildcats held on for the CACC victory.

Although the Wildcats out shot the Rams, 6-5, in the first half, it was a dominating performance in the second half that led to the win. The Wildcats out shot the Rams, 15-6, in the second half to lead to a 21-11 overall tally.

The Wildcats came out with the first opportunity in the first half, but Daniel Loyo's header in the 10th minute hit the post and remained in play. The Wildcats would collect six of the first eight shots of the match, but the Rams were the ones that found the back of the net first. A blast from just inside the penalty area found the netting on the far post in the 24th minute to put the home team ahead, 1-0.

It was all Wilmington after the break, however, as the Wildcats made Philadelphia goalkeeper Eric Gutierrez make four saves in the opening 14 minutes. But it was the seventh shot of the half that got the Wildcats going, as Deron Joe was at the right place for a rebound in the 59th minute. Juan Bernal's initial shot was saved, but Joe was there to stuff it home for his fourth goal of the year.

The Wildcats continued to put the pressure on, getting off the next two shots and two corners, the last set piece paying dividends for the visitors. Fredrik Bentdal sent a left-footed corner across and found Loyo who slammed it home with the right foot for the 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute.

Bernal gave the Wildcats some breathing room in the 79th minute, launching a blast from 24 yards out that ricocheted off the crossbar and into the back of the net. It was Bernal's fifth goal of the season, giving the Wildcats a 3-1 lead.

Philadelphia fought to get back into the contest, mustering another goal in the 86th minute off a set piece from just outside the penalty area. But the home team couldn't register another shot in the final 4:33 of the match as Wilmington came away with the 3-2 victory.

Lorne Bickley collected an assist in the game while also leading the Wildcats with three shots on goal. Joe also collected three shots on goal in the game, putting four shots on the board overall. Jamie Burridge finished with three shots, two of which were on frame.

The Wildcats forced Gutierrez into making nine saves for the match while Vinny Tasca recorded five saves in the victory.

The Wildcats sit in second place in the CACC with three conference matches remaining in the regular season. They will host Nyack on Saturday for their final regular season home game of the season. The men will close the CACC doubleheader with an approximate start time of 2:30 at the WU Athletics Complex.