By: Jack Laudano
The Rams put up an excellent fight on Wednesday night, even after their halftime was extended by over an hour. After equalizing an equalizing goal late in the match, the Rams would eventually fall in overtime.
The Rams came out strong at the beginning of the match and appeared to be meeting Akron’s level of fitness and physicality. The Rams got on the board in the 27th minute after a goal by Jared Greene. Greene received the ball on the edge of the box, played it with a brilliant touch to evade the Akron defender and find the net with the Rams’ first goal of the night and Greene’s fourth on the season. Akron would respond in the 40th minute with a goal of their own by defender Marco Milanese with his first goal of the season. Midfielder Colin Biros sent in a corner that Milanese directed with his head past VCU Goal Keeper Mario Sequeira.
Only a minute later, VCU had another goal by junior midfielder Travis Cooke. Cooke’s first goal of the season came from a shot just outside of the penalty box that found its way to the lower left corner of Akron’s goal. VCU would go into halftime with a 2-1 lead. As the half started, a lightning warning was put in place for the Richmond area, and the match was put into a weather delay.
After an hour and 36 minutes, the match resumed with the second half finally getting underway. VCU appeared to come out with a lot of energy while withstanding the intensifying rain, but Akron proved their aggression with two quick and consecutive yellow cards early in the half. Akron Forward Marcel Zajac was brought down on a strong tackle in the 64th minute.
Zajac would be replaced by Diogo Pacheco, who would ultimately prove to be a critical player in this match. Pachecho made his presence felt just 4 minutes after being substituted in for Zajac with the game’s tying goal. In that same minute, Pacheco would score another goal on the restart to give Akron a 3-2 lead with 27 minutes left to play. The rain began to pour down even more heavily at Sports Backers Stadium with flashes of lightning visible far in the distance.
The Rams would continue to fight for the remainder of the match, and Akron continued to match that with physicality. Akron would receive 4 yellow cards in the 2nd half. The back-and-forth efforts between both teams would continue for almost the remaining minutes of the match, as the Rams could not seem to find an opportune chance on goal. That was until the 88th minute where redshirt senior Peter Pearson found the back of the net for the Rams after a shot by Siad Haji was deflected by Akron’s goalkeeper Ben Lundt. The match would be tied at the end of regulation time 3-3 and would head to sudden victory overtime.
The rain kept pounding through regulation and into overtime, but that didn’t dampen the energy of either team. 4 minutes into overtime, Diogo Pacheco would find the goal to complete his hat-trick for the night. With that goal, Akron beat VCU 4-3 in overtime. The Rams look to rebound Saturday at La Salle.