The NIU men’s soccer team trailed Milwaukee by two goals with less than 21 minutes to play in regulation before coming back to earn a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night at Engelmann Stadium. Junior Bertrand Gaschot (Austin, Texas/Westwood) and senior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) scored for the Huskies.
“Credit to Milwaukee. They changed one or two things with their personnel that made them a very hard team to play against,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “From our standpoint, we are disappointed that we gave away another goal on a set piece. We talked about not giving away silly fouls and we trained on set pieces, so the fact that we gave away another one is very disappointing.
“That being said, the fight back to come back from two goals down, on the road, against a hard team to play, I couldn’t be happier for the guys. I think there was a sense of resiliency and a sense of belief that was very good to see. I’m disappointed to come out of here with one point, because I thought over the whole of the 110 minutes the guys put a great effort in and did a lot of good things. It comes down to those one or two moments in the game and we have to clean up those moments.”
Trailing 2-0, sophomore Chris Paton (Glasgow, Scotland/Uddingston Grammar School) nearly got the Huskies on the board in the 69th minute with a shot that whistled just wide. Seconds later Milwaukee’s Laurie Bell hit the post and the Huskies quickly regained possession and started the counterattack.
Kannah worked the ball through midfield to senior Andrew Palumbo (Ft. Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot/Darton College) on the left wing. His low cross found Gaschot making a near post run and Gaschot’s shot beat Milwaukee goalkeeper Liam Anderson to pull a goal back for NIU (2-3-3) in the 70th minute. The goal was the second of the year for Gaschot.
Just four minutes later, the Huskies were level. After winning a free kick near the midfield line, sophomore Adam Lightner (O’Fallon, Mo./Fort Zumwalt West) played the ball into space to the left of the Panther goal. Anderson came out of the net for the Panthers but Kannah was easily first to the ball and chipped the goalkeeper for his third goal of the season, evening the match, 2-2.
With all of the momentum, NIU looked more likely to win the game in the 90 minutes as Lightner had a chance in the 75th minute and Paton had a number of looks at goal, including an effort that was tipped away by Anderson in the 78th minute.
In the extra time, NIU redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State) was forced into a save in the 100th minute and Milwaukee (3-4-1) had another chance with seconds to play that went wide.
Glaeser made five total saves in the contest. With the draw, Milwaukee retained the Lewang Trophy was its current holder.
The Huskies created the first chance of the match in the 13th minute. Kannah created a turnover in midfield and sophomore Albert Levett (Southend-on-Sea, England/Belfairs High) pounced, picking up the ball and moving towards goal, taking a shot from 25 yards out that Anderson parried away.
Three minutes later, more possession from NIU led to another chance as freshman Len Heinson’s (Wuppertal, Germany/Carl-Fuhlrott Gymnasium) shot from just outside the box was held by Anderson.
The only threatening look at goal for Milwaukee in the opening 45 minutes came in the 35th. The Panthers won a free kick 35 yards from goal and Petter Ingebrigtsen got his head on the service, flicking the chance over the top of the NIU net.
Milwaukee had the first chance of the second half as a Huskie giveaway led to an opportunity for Reid Stevenson, but his effort went high and wide.
The Panthers opened the scoring off a corner in the 54th minute. Luke Goodnetter took the corner and the first chance by Richard Johnson came off the post before Ingebrigtsen put in the rebound to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead.
A minute later, Kannah forced a turnover and played Palumbo in along on goal but his shot was saved by Anderson.
The Huskies had another chance in the 60th minute as junior Shawn Vroom (Kohler, Wis./Kohler) collected a free kick at the back post and fired a shot wide back across goal.
Milwaukee doubled its advantage less than a minute later as Andy Chmielewski muscled off a Huskie defender and powered a shot back across goal to double the Panther advantage, leading to the NIU comeback in the final 21 minutes.
Following its longest break of the season, the Huskies will return to action next Wednesday, Oct. 1, when they travel to Dallas, Texas, to meet SMU. Game time against the Mustangs is scheduled for 7 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.