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In first home game since 2019, Delaware men’s soccer wins on overtime goal

Brandon Sengphachanh’s overtime winner was the difference on a windy day in Newark

Matt Ralph

Nearly 500 days since they last played on their home pitch at Stuart & Suzanne Grant Stadium, the University of Delaware men’s soccer ran off the field a winner with a goal off a set piece in double overtime on a windy Sunday afternoon.

Brandon Sengphachanh headed in a Ryan Mertz corner kick into the wind 1:50 into the second overtime period to lift the Blue Hens to the dramatic 1-0 win over Northeastern in their first home game since November 2, 2019.

It was the second straight win to open the season for the Blue Hens, which beat Saint Joseph’s on the road on Wednesday to start the season 1-0.

The game was marred by wind gusts that limited each team when trying to attack the goal on the north end of the field, which ended up being the end where the game’s only goal was scored. Free kicks were a chore all afternoon for both teams with the ball moving on the ground and in the air. The ball on the decisive corner kicked moved from a wind gust just before Mertz connected with it.

The referees were also busy in a Colonial Athletic contest that grew chippier as the game wore on and exploded into extra-curricular shoving and finger pointing after the game ended. Delaware ended up with four yellows and a red while Northeastern had three yellows and a red.

Delaware played a man up from the 83rd minute on after Northeastern defender Evensky Berleus was sent off for a second yellow on a foul just outside the box. Josh Hesson, who scored the winner against Saint Joseph’s, was shown a second yellow after the game ended for an altercation with Federico Tellez.

Just five players who suited up for the Blue Hens on Sunday played in their last home game prior to the pandemic when they beat Drexel 2-1. Ryan Mertz and goalkeeper Renan Thomazo also started that day and Marco de la Bandera, Alvin Halley and Jake Steinberg featured in both matches.

Delaware hosts Drexel next Sunday at 7 p.m.