The Seattle University men's soccer team took the early lead, but a momentum shift early in the second half allowed the UNLV Rebels to come from behind for a 2-1 victory Friday afternoon at Championship Field.
UNLV (4-9-1, 2-2-0 MPSF) took three of the first four shots of the match before the Redhawks took control of the ball, with a shot attempt by Miguel Gonzalez (Yelm, Wash.) blocked out of bounds by the Rebels. On the ensuing corner kick in the 14th minute, Miles Rodriguez-Nilsen (Bremerton, Wash.) lofted the ball into the box, and Renato Bandeira (Sammamish, Wash.) was able to sky high and put his head on the service, sending the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.
Shane Haworth (Puyallup, Wash.) started his third match of the season in net for Seattle U and made two significant saves in the first half, one on a Rodrigo Fuentes shot attempt in the 19th minute and the other on a scoring chance from Salvador Bernal with 19 minutes remaining in the half, to keep UNLV off the scoreboard. Haworth earned his third save of the half in the 38th minute on a solid scoring opportunity from Jose Mendoza, while Brady Ballew (Marysville, Wash.) responded with two shots, one on goal that was stopped by UNLV goalie Joe Vitale.
Early in the second half, Haworth again came up big, making saves on scoring chances from Mike Mota and Joaquin Rivas. In the 52nd minute, the Rebels went on the attack again, as Bernal seemingly had a breakaway opportunity, but Jose Merlo (San Marcos, Calif.) pulled him down, earning a red card and giving UNLV a man advantage for the remaining 38 minutes of the match.
In the 58th minute, UNLV finally converted, as Jonny Espinoza sent a pass to Bernal in the box, and Bernal beat Haworth with a shot from 10 yards out for his fourth tally of the season. Seven minutes later, the Rebels took the lead as Bernal brought the ball into the box and slipped it to Mendoza, who used a back-heel flick to convert on the scoring chance for his second goal of the season.
UNLV maintained the offensive pressure in the second half, taking advantage of the 11-on-10 situation to outshoot the Redhawks after halftime, 10-3. Seattle U's best chances to tie the match came late in the second half, first when Marshall Kosaka (Burien, Wash.) and Hamza Haddadi (Shoreline, Wash.) played give-and-go before a UNLV defender cleared the ball out.
Enrique Bello (Caracas, Venezuela) took the ensuing corner kick and sent the ball into the box, but Haddadi sent a header wide of the net. Soon afterwards, Jens Klitgaard (Nykobing-Falster, Denmark), playing forward in the final 15 minutes of the match, drove in on Vitale, but his shot sailed to the right, and UNLV was able to hold on for its second victory over Seattle U in a week.
Bernal led all players with five total shots, including two shots on goal, while Gonzalez collected four shots to lead the Redhawks. Haworth was credited with five saves, and Vitale finished the match with three saves.
Seattle University (2-8-1, 0-3-1 MPSF) will host CSU Bakersfield this Sunday, Oct. 14, beginning at 1 p.m. at Championship Field. Among the activities surrounding the match is a celebration of 45 years of men's soccer at Seattle U, a reunion of the 1997 NAIA National Championship team, and a drive to raise awareness and money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.