It was George Mason against the world yesterday at the Fairfax school and, in the final accounting, the world prevailed.
George Washington's international band of soccer impresarios notched a 5-2 victory over the Patriots -- all of whom are American. Senior halfback Farid Al-Awardi of Kuwait, who was last season's leading Colonial point producer, led the way with three goals and one assist as the 14th-ranked visitors boosted their season record to 2-0.
The game ended on a sour note, with Colonial Coach Georges Edeline complaining about the dimensions of the field, minutes after being yellow-carded for protesting what he considered rough play.
"I came out here yesterday and the field was this wide," Edeline said while gesturing with his hands, "Now look how big it is."
New sidelines had been laid by the GMU ground crew, reducing the width of the field 10 yards to 65 yards. That is the minimum allowable under NCAA rules.
"The home team has the right to set up the field the way it wants," said Patriot Coach Dick Broad. "The same thing is true in baseball. We wanted to limit the space, given the nature of our side."
What Broad hoped for was to take away some of the room that GWU's slick-passing and ballhandling players had to work with. The Patriot coach based his changes of victory on the effectiveness with which the hosts could check Colonial booters.
The strategy worked well until a 1 minute 44 second span early in the second half when the Colonials scored a pair of goals to break open a game that was tied, 2-2, at halftime. Al-Awardi scored both goals, the first on as assist from Carlos Solorzano of Ecuador at 46:40 and the second on a penalty kick after he was tackled in the goal area at 56:24.
"We gave them a cheap goal (after a corner kick) at the beginning of the second half," Broad said. "The penalty kick went right in underneath the goalie."
"We knew what we had to do, but we stopped executing in the final 45 minutes. We tried to frustrate them, but almost every goal they scored came off a bad error by us.
"But, don't take a thing from GW. They're an excellent team and deserve to be ranked. Still, we could have had a 4-2 lead at the half if we hadn't missed a couple of easy shots in the mouth of the goal." GMU, 7-7-2 last season, was unbeaten in three games going into the Colonial contest. Patriot scores yesterday were sophomore midfielder Frank Gorman of Lake Braddock High (20:20) off Scott Schiffert's assist and junior forward Tom Kalaris of Langley High, unassisted at 38:46. Those tallies made up a 2-0 Patriot deficit.
Seven different GMU booters have now contributed either goals or assists this season. In 1973, the Patriots had five players with at least three goals but not one with more than half a dozen.
"We've got a lot of even balance, no stars," said Broad, who played at Princeton and assisted at two colleges before taking over the Patriot headcoach duties three years ago.
"We're not located in an area where there is a multinational population to draw students from," added Broad. "American players have to make up in speed and hustle what they give up in skill. But the Fairfax area is probably the best in the country in producing high school talent."
The Patriot soccer program could use more funding from the athletic department, according to Broad. The NCAA allows 11 full soccer scholarships but George Mason provides only one.
The 22-man Patriot roster lists 10 freshmen and only three seniors. Fourteen players hail from either the metropolitan area or Annapolis.