Georgetown looked every bit like one of the top men’s soccer teams in the country Wednesday, hoarding possession and creating wonderful scoring opportunities. But a confusing scoring sequence in the first half, a goalkeeping mistake in the second and outrageous goalkeeping by Connecticut’s Andre Blake all afternoon resulted in the third-ranked Hoyas dropping a 2-1 decision to the No. 2 Huskies at North Kehoe Field.
Off to the best start in program history, Georgetown (10-1-1, 2-1 Big East) failed to capitalize on a dominant first half and fell behind on Mamadou Diouf’s goal in the 39th minute. Allando Matheson extended the lead in the 64th before Andy Riemer answered two minutes later for the Hoyas.
Blake, a sophomore from Jamaica, secured the lead for the Huskies (10-0-1, 3-0) with a phenomenal reflex save on Brandon Allen.
The outcome was “frustrating because we did what we wanted to do,” Hoyas Coach Brian Wiese said. “We were running the game the way we wanted to run it. The difference was goalkeeping. They have the best goalkeeper in the country, and he played like it.”
The Hoyas, boasting their highest ranking in team history, moved the ball elegantly in the first half, but Blake had an early gem on Allen, a late stop on Steve Neumann and quality saves in between.
Connecticut’s counterattacking, long-ball tactic caused few problems until late in the half. With confusion in the back, Hoyas goalkeeper Keon Parsa attempted to play the ball with his upper body outside the penalty area. He said he used the top of his shoulder, but the assistant referee signaled for a handball.
While the Hoyas were setting their defensive wall, Diouf placed a 19-yard free kick into the left side. The Hoyas protested vehemently, claiming they were expecting 10 yards to be marked off first, but referee Paul Williams allowed the goal to stand.
Wiese said he thought a Connecticut player had asked for the mark-off, which would’ve allowed the Hoyas to relax for a moment.
“I was lining up my wall and out of nowhere they slotted it,” said Parsa, the second-choice goalkeeper starting in place of the injured Tomas Gomez. “I thought, ‘Okay, let me go grab the ball and there’s going to be another one.’ He didn’t call it back. I was so shocked.”
Parsa was at fault on the second goal, failing to punch out a service into the six-yard box and allowing Matheson to nod it in. Georgetown answered two minutes later when Neumann set up Andy Riemer for an easy finish and his sixth goal of the year.
After Connecticut’s Carlos Alvarez missed a wide-open net, Blake sparkled again on Allen’s sure thing at the near post.
“If we had finished our chances earlier, the game definitely would have opened up and suited us better,” Hoyas midfielder Ian Christianson said. “It comes down to us being a little sharper and Blake played phenomenal.”
The path to the Big East tournament doesn’t get any easier for the Hoyas, who travel to No. 10 Notre Dame on Saturday and then are home vs. ninth-ranked Marquette on Oct. 13.