PHILADELPHIA, PA. 9/15/2015 – It was a battle of two young teams looking for their first victory of the season. It was also a battle of West Philadelphia neighbors. In a defensive game it was a question of who would get that important first goal. The Drexel Dragons got the only goal of the game to get their first win of the season against the University of Pennsylvania in men’s soccer in front of a capacity crowd at Vidas Field.
The Dragons got the breakthrough goal with 27:32 remaining in the second half. Freshman forward Francisco Palma, running up the right side, sent a crossing pass from the corner where sophomore midfielder Colin McGlynn headed the ball into the net for the deciding score. It was the second goal of the year for McGlynn.
“In most all of college soccer, all soccer, whoever gets that first goal wins,” said Drexel Coach Doug Hess. “That’s the large trend. It was getting that breakthrough moment. It was also important for us not to concede in the first half.”
The game had a defensive tone to it. Penn had the territorial advantage early, but Drexel kept plugging away and took the momentum in the second half. The perseverance paid off in the 63rd minute. The Dragons out shot the Quakers by a 13 – 6 margin, 10 – 4 in the second half.
Drexel goalie Tyler Afflerbach made two saves getting his first shutout of the season. Etan Mabourakh had three saves for Penn.
“In the second half I thought it was your typical derby,” said Penn Coach Rudy Fuller. “It was back and forth at times. Neither team had a hold of it for much of it. They had a little of the better of it at the start of the second half. We started to press after their goal trying to get the equalizer.”
Both teams have been struggling to score, a result of each team still trying to come together as a team.
“We’re still trying to learn each other, how each other moves,” Hess said. “We’re not a great passing team, but as poorly as we played with the ball, we’ve found a way to stay in games.”
The Dragons have 4 goals this season while the Red and Blue has found the back of the net once.
“We had more chances tonight than we’ve had in our first three games,” Fuller said. “We have been a little tight because we haven’t put the ball in the back of the net. When you look at our team, half of our guys are first year players. If you take any team in the world and half of their guys are new players , it’s going to take time. Those connections are going to come.”
Drexel (1 – 5 – 0) begin conference play on Friday at Elon before returning home for a Philadelphia Soccer Six game against Saint Joseph’s.
Penn has another city game as they host Temple on Sunday.
Written By: Glenn Papazian