Baltimore, MD—Playoff-tested and third-seeded Binghamton (12-4-4) edged second-seeded UMBC (9-7-3), 4-1, in an America East semi-final match at UMBC Stadium. The Bearcats advance to the league title game at #1 Stony Brook on Saturday.
The Bearcats, who won the league title in 2003 and were runners-up last season, shocked UMBC early with a goal 5:29 into the game. The Retrievers failed to clear a ball in their own box, and Binghamton’s Joey Neilson recovered the ball. UMBC freshman netminder Steve King managed to knock away Neilson’s effort, but sophomore fullback Matt Narode followed up and scored on the rebound from eight yards away.
Binghamton continued to press in the first half and Neilson put away another chance in the later stages of the half. Junior forward Peter Sgueglia centered a ball to Neilson, who turned from 13 yards out and banged a shot off the inside of the far right post and inside the net.
UMBC adjusted their formation in the second half and it immediately paid dividends. Junior midfielder David Feazell’s long cross was redirected on goal by senior forward Powell Cucchiella. Bearcat netminder Ryan Bertoni could not control the rebound and Cucchiella tapped it in from the goal mouth just 57 seconds into the half.
UMBC tried to press the attack, but Binghamton did an excellent job of counterattacking and kept the Retrievers from many dangerous chances. UMBC did attempt three late corner kicks, but the Bearcats cleared all three from harm’s way.
With the Retrievers pressing in the late stages, Binghamton scored a pair of late goals to seal the victory. Sgueglia came out of the corner on a deep throw-in and his short cross was knocked in by freshman midfielder Cody German with 1:09 remaining. Then, with 25 seconds left, and King way out of the net, freshman back Barry Neville scored from 40 yards out into an unguarded net.
Binghamton outshot UMBC, 13-6, and King managed three saves in the Retriever net.
After compiling a 28-game home unbeaten streak, UMBC lost its final three home games of the 2005 season.