WILSON, N.C. – Marshall’s Milo Yosef was not to be denied in the Thundering Herd men’s soccer team’s second round NCAA Tournament match against Fordham.
Just three minutes after ringing the crossbar with a shot, Yosef took a feed from Jamil Roberts and beat Fordham goalkeeper Josh Levine in the 97th minute to give Marshall a 2-1 overtime win over the Rams on Sunday at J. Burt Gillette Athletic Complex.
The goal capped Yosef’s fourth multi-goal performance in his Marshall career with none being bigger than Sunday’s.
“Credit to the guys. They kept piling on it,” Marshall head coach Chris Grassie said. “Milo Yosef finally, you know, hitting his stride. We kind of felt it. We talked about it a little bit. He’s just been looking good, getting into the box, so we just need to get him in the box and he’s going to score goals. I thought he did a great job today, as did all the boys.”
Marshall advances to Thursday’s third round in Cary, North Carolina, against No. 1 overall seed Clemson, which defeated American 2-1 on Sunday.
Marshall (10-2-2) controlled possession throughout the match and it started to pay dividends late in regulation and into the early session with the Herd getting several opportunities against Levine, who had six saves and kept the Rams in the match.
Grassie said it was all part of the philosophy coming into Sunday’s match against Fordham and his good friend Carlo Acquista.
“We said to the guys, ‘Look, we’ve got to play the whole game, so we’re playing some of these passes to try and wear them down a little bit,’” Grassie said. “I think you saw in the second half going on, we had a lot more of the opportunities to play and get in. We had a lot more of the ball. It was just coming and trying to break them down at the back.”
Marshall ended the match with 16 shots – eight of which came on goal.
Levine was up to the task on several -– including a huge save on a deflected shot by Pedro Dolabella –- but Yosef was able to find twine on two separate occasions to get the Herd into the next round.
Grassie credited Fordham for their defensive discipline in a hard-fought match.
“They did a great job. Colin had them very well organized and they weren’t biting and they had nice traps,” Grassie said.
Marshall’s game plan was set in stone from the start as the Herd controlled much of the first half, but the teams went into the break even at one after the Rams got a late goal that changed momentum a bit.
With the Herd protecting a lead, Fordham’s Adrian Valentine sent a long ball into the box and the ball found the foot of Fordham’s Max Rogers, who slipped it under the arms of Herd goalkeeper Oliver Semmle for the equalizer.
It was a tough blow for the Herd, which had dictated pace throughout the half and led for much of it.
Marshall took a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute when Marshall sent a cross deep into the box that Vitor Dias touched back to Yosef, who sent it past Levine to give the Herd the early lead.
The win means that Marshall is headed to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season, which Grassie said is a boost for his program’s stance on the national stage as one of Division I’s top powers.
“We want to take this program to national prominence,” Grassie said. “We want to win a national championship. You have to beat the best teams and we’re excited about the opportunity to do that.”