Nationally ranked George Washington, trying to regain composure after losing its first game Saturday, received two goals from midfielder Mohammand Pasikhani and slipped by previously unbeaten University of the District of Columbia, 2-1, in a soccer match yesterday at Francis Recreation Center.
The Colonials, who slipped from 11th to 13th in the NCAA rankings this week after a loss to Navy, stand 8-1. The win helped strengthen GW's No. 1 ranking in the Mid-Atlantic region. UDC dropped its first decision in six contests.
Pasikhani snapped a 1-1 tie early in the second half when GW cocaptain Mohsen Mirl dribbled down right wing and fired a high pass across the goal mouth.
Pasikhani, playing his first full game for the injury-plaqued Colonials, settled the ball before placing a high shot into the far right corner of the net.
"This starts another life for us now that it's the second half of the season" said Pasikhani who has three goals this fall. "We were getting a big head since we were undefeated. When we lost the spirit of the team came a little down but Coach (Georges) Edeline explained that every good team loses once in awhile.
"Our teamwork was a little shaky today" admitted the junior from Iran. "But the one-day (rain) delay helped relax us more. UDC is a team different from most of the others in the area. They have many foreign players like we do so their technique is just like ours. They didn't have very good team play but their individual talent was good."
GW opened the game without four injured starters -- including high-scoring midfielder Farid Al-Awadi -- but scored first when Pasikhani caught the bottom left corner of the UDC net with shot at 10:17 of the first half.
The Firebirds, starting nine foreign players to GW's 10, tied the game six minutes later when forward Junior Nicholls ran down a long pass from teammate Hussein Rigizadeh and split the defenders before colliding with GW keeper Jose Suarez. Nicholls maintained his balance and scored.
The goals against UDC keeper Joseph Martin, a freshman from Oakton High School, were only the fourth and fifth allowed by the Firebird defense this season. Coach Hanai Omar's club posted three shutouts to start the campaign and did not allow a goal until a 5-2 win over Southeastern Sept. 29.
Yesterday's contest had lost its flair for finesse by midway through the final half and almost got out of hand in the final five minutes when Mirl was called for illegal charging UDC's Abraham Araya in the GW penalty area.
As Araya tried to infiltrate GW's defensive wall on the ensuing free kick, he and Mirl waged a personal battle for position. Soon both were injured, Araya limping off the filed while Mirl lay on the ground holding his hands over his face. Araya received a red card and was ejected for his part in the skirmish.
UDC's 5-1 record keeps alive its hope for an NCAA, Division II ranking. The Firebird's eligibility for a ranking has been withheld because of a mixup in the mailing of their dues to the Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America. The problem is expected to be cleared up this week.