Harvard won its fourth consecutive game at home to improve to 4-3 on the season with the thrilling victory. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Junior Andrew Chang's left-footed drive from just outside 18 yards with 43 seconds left capped off a wild come-from-behind victory for the Harvard men's soccer team Tuesday night at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. After finding itself in a 2-0 hole with less than 17 minutes left in the game, the Crimson (4-3) reeled off three scores in a span of 16 minutes to overcome the Northeastern Huskies (2-6) for its fourth consecutive victory.
Before Chang's winner, sophomores Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu and Daniel Smith got Harvard back into the thick of things with second-half headers. Both Crimson tallied their second marks of the year in the winning effort, having been assisted on by Matt Sheeleigh, Michael Klain, Christian Sady and Oliver White. In goal, junior Evan Mendez yielded a pair of Husky scores, but made six stops to pick up his fourth win of the season.
In the first half, a rather tactical set from both sides, Northeastern was first out of the gates. The youthful Huskies peppered Mendez with three shots on target in a span of three minutes, but the junior keeper held steady. After Tim Schmoll tested rookie NU goalie Jonathan Thuresson at the 9:34 mark, the Huskies returned the favor as Brad Fountain found the back of the net at 14:39, putting NU up 1-0 with his third goal of the season.
The physical play wore on until the half came to a close. Sheeleigh nearly made good with a touch in the box at 45:22, but Thuresson kept the Crimson off the board to start the second. NU struck again in later in the 71st minute as Frantzdy Pierrot made a move to get into the box, receiving a pass from Christian McKenna just eight yards out. Pierrot fired one on target, but it ricocheted off a Crimson defender into the back of the net to put the Red and Black up 2-0.
Fighting for any score, the Crimson finally broke through late in the half. On a Klain throw-in, Schmoll and Sheeleigh managed to get heads on the ball, directing it right in the path of Wheeler-Omiunu, who put it home with an emphatic header at the back post.
Down 2-1 with time winding down, the rally continued off yet another set piece. Sam Brown went short to Sady on a free kick at midfield, who then lofted a long pass right to the head of Dan Smith, who was settled in the box about 10 yards out. From there, Smith sent in a lengthy laser of a header to beat Thuresson for the equalizer at the near right corner with 3:19 remaining.
Looking for more, the Crimson continued to press. Outmuscling Northeastern for much of the remaining time, Harvard connected yet again in the final minute. Oliver White danced around a defender, sending in an attempted cross, but after a Husky got a foot on the touch, the ball deflected right to Chang, who was awaiting at the edge of the 18-yard box. Chang then one-timed a blast from the paint to give Harvard its game-winning goal.
After the thrilling win, the Crimson gear up for one last nonconference showdown before Ivy League play gets underway. Harvard will travel to Amherst to take on Massachusetts Friday at 3:30 p.m.