The UMBC men's soccer team (6-2-1) opens its 13th America East Conference season in challenging fashion, as the Retrievers travel to West Hartford, Conn. to take on the Hartford Hawks (4-3-2) at Al-Marzook Field on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7:00 p.m. The Retrievers and Hawks have competed in the league title game in each of the past two seasons and UMBC has come away with home victories on each occasion. The game will be streamed on the www.americaeast.tv, and live stats will be provided on via a link on www.umbcretrievers.com.
Fans can also access live stats and video via UMBC Front Row, Retriever Athletics' mobile app or follow along on Twitter @UMBCMensSoccer.
Both teams have won three straight contests heading into Saturday's match. UMBC competed on Tuesday and edged Howard, 2-1, in driving rain at Retriever Soccer Park. Junior Michael Burgos gave the Retrievers a 1-0 lead and the hosts prevailed via an own goal in the second half.
The Retrievers earned their 100th victory at Retriever Soccer Park. Opened in 1998, UMBC is 100-22-25 (.765) in 147 games and on its Bermuda turf.
Honored: UMBC men's soccer captured both America East honors this week, as senior forward Darius Madison and Patrick Jean-Gilles earned the league's Player and Rookie of the Week honors, respectively.
Madison earned the top honor for the second time this year, as game-winning goals versus Ohio State and Oakland netted him the award on Sept. 8. He leads America East (and is tied for second nationally) with three game-winning goals and is tied for the top spot in goals (5, 27th in the nation) and total points (13).
Madison recorded his third career two-goal game and first as a Retriever, keying UMBC's come-from-behind 3-2 victory at George Washington on Sept. 22. He got UMBC on the board with a header in the final seconds of the first half and converted on a penalty kick for the game-winner to cap the rally. Madison has at least one point in every Retriever victory or draw in 2015.
Jean-Gilles has started the last seven games at center midfielder and posted a highlight-reel goal in the tenth minute vs. the Patriots. The 14-yard strike into the upper part of the cage accounted for his first collegiate goal and stood up as the game-winner.
Madison's other two-goal games occurred versus Notre Dame and James Madison when he competed for the Virginia Cavaliers.
Junior Kennedy O'Shea scored a goal and added an assist in each of the Retrievers' victories last week. He scored the game-tying goal in the 3-2 come-from-behind victory at GW. The 2014 Coastal Carolina transfer earned his first career start vs. George Mason and posted the primary assist on Patrick Jean-Gilles' game-winning goal against the Patriots. He also scored an insurance marker in the 51st minute in UMBC's 2-0 victory.
O'Shea is second on the team with four goals and 11 total points.
Senior midfielder Michael Scott recorded assists on both goals versus Mason, added one at GW and now has a team-high four on the campaign. He is second in the America East with 0.50 assists per game and was 24th nationally with the four helpers entering play this week.
Hartford is 4-3-2 on the campaign and the league preseason co-favorites have won three straight. The Hawks are 2-0-1 at home, including last Saturday's 2-1 double overtime victory over St. Francis (Pa.). Junior forward Jeff Tryon, who scored versus UMBC in last year's title game, headed home the game-winner with 48 seconds remaining in the second overtime to lift Hartford.
Three-time America East First Team forward Javoni Simms leads UH and is tied with UMBC's Darius Madison for the league lead with five goals on the campaign. Junior netminder David MacKinnon maintains a 1.11 goals against average, playing all 889 minutes in the UH goal to date.
Retriever Ramblings: The UMBC men's soccer program was ranked No. 12 in the 2015 National Soccer College Association of America Division I preseason rankings. The No. 12 ranking is the top preseason mark for the Retriever program. Last season, Pete Caringi's squad, coming off back-to-back America East titles, was tabbed at No. 19 in the August poll.
A season ago, UMBC became the first team in NCAA tournament history to win four consecutive road games and to post shutouts in four consecutive games to reach the College Cup.
With four America East tournament titles (in 12 years), UMBC trails only Boston University, with seven total America East championships. The Retrievers became the second team in league history to win regular season and tournament titles in back-to-back years. Boston U. achieved that feat in 1993-94.
The three-time defending league champions will welcome back 16 letterwinners and three starters from last year's 14-6-5 squad. In the first four games of the season, UMBC started three freshmen (Riley Collins, Kyle Saunderson and Tyler Ward) and a transfer (Bill Kerr) along the backline.
Current Rankings: After a week out of the Top 10, UMBC moved into the No. 7 position in the East regional rankings as of Sept. 29.
Head Coach Pete Caringi, Jr., is celebrating his 25th season at the helm of the Retrievers. In 24 campaigns, under Caringi, UMBC is 160-48-31 (.734) at home and the Retrievers are 100-22-25 (.767) in 147 games on the Bermuda turf of Retriever Soccer Park. The Retriever mentor has an overall record of 266-152-60 (.617) during his tenure on Hilltop Circle and in 32 years as a head coach, he is 436-179-68 (.688).
All-Time Series: UMBC leads the all-time series, 10-5-2 and carries a five-game winning into the contest. Due to home playoff games, five of the last six contests have been played at RSP. Hartford's last win occurred in the 2011 AE quarterfinals, a 1-0 decision in Baltimore. UMBC is 3-3-1 at Al-Marzook Field, including a 2-1 victory in the last meeting in 2013.
Of course, the most notable contests have been played the past two Novembers, as the squads have met for the America East title in 2013 and 2014. UMBC blanked UH, 4-0, in 2013 and rallied for a 2-1 victory last fall. Sophomore Gregg Hauck scored the game-winning goal versus the Hawks and earned Most Outstanding Player honors in the championships.
Notable: UMBC is 4-4-4 in 12 previous America East openers… The Retrievers are 47-31-14 in 12 previous seasons of America East play.
UMBC is undefeated in season openers since a 3-0 loss to Georgia Southern in 2005… The Retrievers are 9-0-1 in the span… The Retrievers did not allow two or more goals in a game in the final 16 games of the 2014 season… UMBC is 0-2-6 in its last eight overtime contests.
With five goals scored vs. Central Arkansas, UMBC matched its season high of 2014, a 5-1 victory over Vermont on Nov. 1… UMBC's last shutout of five goals or more occurred in game No. 3 of the 2009 season, a 6-0 triumph over St. Joseph's… The seven goals scored in two games are the most since UMBC tallied seven in 2010.
Even great programs have difficulty rallying from two-goal (or more) deficits to earn draws or victories, as UMBC did in its 2-2 draw versus Fairfield… The last time UMBC made that style comeback occurred way back in 1997, as they rallied from a 3-1 hole to defeat Coastal Carolina, 4-3, in overtime on Oct. 11, 1997.
O'Shea posted his first career goal, the game-tying goal versus Fairfield… Malcolm Harris' missed penalty kick versus Fairfield was the first misfire by a Retriever since Daniel Welsh was unsuccessful vs. Albany on Oct. 1, 2011. The Retrievers had converted 10 in a row between misses and have started a new streak with Madison's conversion at GW.
For the first time since Sept. 4 (span of four games), UMBC scored the game's first goal in the victory over the Patriots. Freshman Patrick Jean-Gilles scored his first career goal for the game-winner in the 10th minute of play, while junior Kennedy O'Shea, making his first career start, added his fourth goal early in the second half for the Retrievers.
The come-from-behind win at GW marked the second time in theyoung season that the Retrievers have rallied from two scores down to earn a result. In the opener, UMBC fell behind Fairfield, 2-0, before tying the game up at 2-all. The last time that a UMBC men's soccer team rallied from two goals down to win occurred in October of 1997, when they erased a 3-1 deficit to defeat Coastal Carolina, 4-3.
The home loss to La Salle snapped a ten-game (9-0-1) unbeaten streak by UMBC at Retriever Soccer Park. UMBC is 18-2-4 in its last 24 games at home and 29-3-5 in its last 37 contests at the park.
UP NEXT: UMBC returns home and will celebrate Homecoming, '15 by hosting Albany in a special 2:30 p.m. start on Saturday, Oct. 10.