Colin Kerr headed in a cross from Fred Thompson late in the first overtime to lead ninth-ranked George Mason to a 1-0 victory over American in a Capital Collegiate Conference soccer game before 800 yesterday in Fairfax.
The Patriots (4-0 in the conference, 15-0 overall) are the only unbeaten and untied team in the national top 20, and are currently ranked second in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Kerr, who has scored six game-winning goals this season, cut in from the left wing and caught Thompson's 30-foot cross on the fly. Kerr headed the ball against the grain into the right corner at 99:22 for his 12th goal of the year.
"It happened so fast," said Kerr, a Scottish-born Canadian. "Fred already had his foot cocked to shoot, but I saw that I wasn't trapped and I called for the ball. All I had to do was just stand there and nod it in."
"We knew we were going to win," said Thompson. "We just didn't think it would be in overtime."
The contest was marred by 30 fouls and three yellow cards were issued to the Patriots. George Mason outshot American, 15-11, and held a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Both teams were slowed by the muddy field and played cautiously in the first half. George Mason outshot the Eagles, 8-5, and threatened 10 minutes into the game when Scott Shiffert sent a cross from the right corner into the box. But Mike Reynolds' diving header missed wide right.
American's best chance came at 20:00 when freshman forward Scott Snyder drove a 35-foot shot that goalie Ken Bernstein just managed to tip past the left post.
American (3-2, 14-5-1), ranked fifth in the region, carried play in the second half and nearly scored at 55:00 when Michael Brady's 10-foot drive was blocked by Bernstein. Brady's follow shot was stopped by Bernstein while still on the ground.
Both goalkeepers played well and made several difficult stops. Bernstein, who has allowed only two goals all season, had five saves. Eagles goalie Steve Giordano, who has five shutouts this season, made five saves and was repeatedly challenged due to poor play by the Eagles back line.