Foward Osogho Odu booted home a 15-yard goal with 18:23 to play as George Washington beat American, 1-0, in soccer yesterday at Francis Field.
The victory moved the Colonials one step closer to their third NCAA tournament bid in six years. GW, 6-1-2 following its first loss and second tie of the season in the Alabama A&M tournament last weekend, is currently tied with Navy as the second-ranked squad in the Mid-Atlantic area.
Odu, a senior from Nigeria who scored five goals last season, had yet to score this year going into the American contest. But the 5-foot-8, 155-pounder found himself in the right place for the game-breaker against the Eagles.
Eagle goalkeeper Tony Vecchione came out of the goal mouth to try and bat a loose ball past a group of players scuffling arond the penalty line. But to Vecchione's consternation, the ball fell right at the feet of Odu, who lofted it over the head of the retreating Vecchione.
"Juan Pablo Calvo should get much of the credit," said Colonial Coach Georges Edeline. "He started the play by putting enough pressure on the goalie to force him to come out and punch the ball. Odu timed his kick just right, booting it while the goalie was going backwards."
The goal aroused the Colonials, who had blown a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half - including a three-on-one-plus-goalkeeper break - and had been kept on the defensive by the Eagles in the second.
The Colonials began to show the footwork and dribbling ability that had propelled them to a ranking as high as 18th nationally before the Alabama A&M tournament. Wearing confident smiles, they began to open up, with Carlos Solorzano shooting twice and Jose Villagra once on the same possession.
American, which dropped its second straight game to lower its mark to 5-3, got a final chance with just under a minute remaining.Following a dazzling series of headers and bicycle kicks 20 yards out from the Colonial goal, Alex Kozlov headed a shot that was saved by second-string GW goalie Jose Suarez.
The Colonial lineup had been hurt by injuries to regular goalie Jeff Brown and to sweeper Mohsen Miri, both of whom missed the game; halfback Abbas Ghasemi played with serious arm injury. American was without the services of injured midfielder Luis Calderon.
George Washington outshot American, 18-7, and also outfouled its opponent, 21-10. "We don't want to hit, even though our opponents sometimes force us to by going after our good players," said Edeline. "But what can we do, let a player get banged up because he's good.?"
Eric Heller scored two goals and Carlos Fernandez tallied once and had two assists to lead host Montgomery-Rockville in a 4-2 victory over Anne Arundel Community College.
Fowards Pete Bourne, Ron McKeever and Bryan Kittelberger scored two goals each as Maryland won, 6-0, yesterday at Catholic.
Freshman center forward Osama Siddig had three goals and an assist as UDC defeated Georgetown, 5-2, yesterday at 16th and Kennedy Street.