NEWARK, Del. - - On a hot and humid Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex, the Wilmington University men's soccer team couldn't get itself out of a sticky situation, as the District of Columbia escaped with a 2-1 victory, deflating the joy of the 2014 home and season opener.
The Wildcats (0-1 overall) fell victim to an own goal, a saved penalty kick, and a point blank miss all in the second half, as the Firebirds (2-0) duck in defensively to hold on for their second nonconference victory of the season.
It looked as though it was going to be a high scoring affair from the start of the contest, as junior newcomer Josh Fawssett got the scoring started in the third minute of the game.
Sophomore Bruno Montini escaped with the ball around the 50-yard line and turned on the jets to create a 3-on-3 with the UDC defense. Fawssett was open on the left side and found a pass from Montini. Fawssett went up and over the Firebird keeper, hitting it off the underside of the crossbar before crossing the line to give the home team a 1-0 lead just 2:50 into the match.
But the Firebirds answered right back as Charles Cuffy put a cross into the box from the right side, allowing Felix Angerer to sky high for a header and redirect it to the far post for the game-tying goal at the 5:06 mark.
The Wildcats held control for most of the first half and the beginning of the second half, but it was the Firebirds who were able to find the back of the net.
On a free kick right in front of the UDC bench, Patrick Borchert lofted a ball into the box, but a misheaded ball by Wildcats' centerback Tom Debenham snuck around Wilmington keeper Frank Hall for an own goal. UDC took the lead in the 57th minute.
The Wildcats put the pressure on after that, creating an opportunity inside the UDC box and was awarded a penalty kick in the 69th minute. But the Firebirds net minder Louis Connor kept the ball out of the net on a diving save to preserve the lead.
The Wildcats missed another opportunity as Montini spun himself free down the left endline, feeding the ball in front to Adrian Tash and an empty net. But Tash's one touch went over the crossbar to keep the score at 2-1.
In the final seconds, the Wildcats had another opportunity in the box, as a last second corner kick almost ended in a goal, but UDC's Borchert kicked the ball off the line as the buzzer sounded.
The Wildcats outshot the Firebirds, 20-8, including earning more corners, 7-2, throughout the contest.
Hall made one saves in the first half for the Wildcats while Connor recorded five fives on the afternoon.
The Wildcats remain at home for another nonconference game this week, hosting Shippensburg on Wednesday, September 10. The opening kick is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the WU Athletics Complex.