Howard's ninth-ranked soccer team took advantage of two defensive errors by American University to defeat the Eagles, 2-1, yesterday at AU.
The Bison, playing a more team-oriented game under new Coach Keith Tucker than in recent years, improved their record to 5-0. The Eagles, who have only two goals this season, are 0-3-3.
Gerard Johnson scored the winning goal for the Bison with 28:35 gone in the second half when he followed up a shot by teammate Carlton Briscoe. AU goalie Steve Giordano was caught off guard by Briscoe's line-drive shot from 25 yards out, and managed only to tip the ball upward. The ball deflected off the crossbar high in the air, and Johnson was waiting to tap it in.
Howard had taken a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute on a goal scored on a corner kick. Forward Donnie Streete, taking the kick from the right side, sent a shot that curled into the goal over the head of Giordano. The goalie misjudged the arc of the kick, barely tipping the ball, and it settled into the net for Streete's fourth goal of the year.
American, which had played the Bison even in the first half, worked aggressively in the second half and evened the score in the 68th minute on a well-placed free kick from 22 yards out by Richie Burke.
But Howard, using its new approach on offense that stresses less one-on-one play, did not get flustered. It had two near-misses before Johnson's goal.
"Honestly, I did not think we would be 5-0 this year," acknowledged junior fullback Bancroft Gordon, the team captain. "We were decimated by graduation and by other players not coming back, and our new coach didn't have time to recruit. And with the new approach, it took some time to get it down. But it's paid off. You can't argue with the results."