North Adams, MA- The MCLA Men's Soccer rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat the visiting Fitchburg State Falcons 2-1 this afternoon at Shewcraft Field to earn a key MASCAC victory and clinched a playoff berth in the process. MCLA is now 4-8-2 overall and stands at 3-3 in league play. The Falcons drop to 5-10 overall and are now just 1-5 in league play.
Fitchburg led 1-0 at halftime thanks to Frank Wansi's goal in the first half. MCLA didn't take long as the second half began to even things up when senior Ryan Baker tallied his first goal of the season in the 49th minute. Following a Fitchburg foul, MCLA had a free kick just past midfield. Tyler Vona sent the free kick heading toward Falcon keeper Alex Alzaibek. Alzaibek tried to make the catch in traffic, however the loose ball bounced right to Baker who headed it home to tie things up at 1-1 with 41 minutes to play.
In the 84th minute, MCLA would net the eventual game winner. Anthony Basile took control of the ball around midfield and slid a through ball perfectly to a streaking Dylan Pereira towards the left post. Pereira outran Alzaibek to the ball and even though he had a tough angle, he knocked it home giving MCLA the 2-1 advantage with just six minutes to play.
The Falcons had a few chances down the stretch, however they couldn't get the equalizer as Kamron Anderson made three saves in the closing minutes.
Wansi's first half goal was assisted by Steven Martinez who took the Falcon free kick. He sent it into the box where Wansi corralled the ball after a Trailblazer defender failed to clear it. His marker was his second goal of the season.
For the match, Anderson stopped 8 shots to record his fourth win of the season.
Alzaibek collected 7 saves in a losing effort for Fitchburg.
The Falcons outshot MCLA 21-16 in the contest, however each team had 9 shots on goal. MCLA held a slim 7-5 mark in corners.
The Trailblazers are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Albertus Magnus for a 5pm start.