PHILADELPHIA - Following a hard-luck, 1-0 loss at Columbia Saturday evening, the Penn men's soccer team is back on the road Tuesday for its final non-conference match of 2009, a midweek affair at American. The Quakers and the Eagles will kick off in Washington, D.C. at 3 p.m.
The Quakers (4-4-3) battled the Lions to a stalemate almost all the way Saturday night in New York City, but Columbia was awarded a penalty kick in the 80th minute and converted for the win. With the decision, Penn fell to 0-1-1 in Ivy play.
This will be Penn's third match against a Patriot League team this season; the previous two were winners for the Quakers, both by 2-0 scores, against Navy and Lehigh.
The Series with American: The Eagles have become a regular presence on the Quakers' schedule and lead the series, 5-3; however, Penn's three wins have come in the last four meetings including a 1-0 victory last year in a neutral-site affair at Princeton and 2-1 two years ago in Philadelphia.
About American: The Eagles (6-3-1, 3-0-0 PL) are flying after a double-overtime win against Lafayette this weekend that vaulted them to the top of the Patriot League. In that match, American scored in the final minute of regulation to tie, then earned the winner in the second extra session. The Eagles are led offensively by Daniel Shannon (4 goals, 4 assists); Mike Worden has three scores, while Nick Kapus and David Menzie have two apiece.
*Penn entered the week fourth among Ivy teams in goals per game (1.55) and points per game (4.64).
*Sophomore Christian Barreiro, who had a two-goal performance last week at Lehigh, is fifth among Ivy players with 0.55 goals and 1.27 points per game.
*Junior Tobi Olopade is tied for fourth among Ivy players with 0.44 assists per game, and 10th with 1.11 points per game.
*Senior Alex Takakuwa is ninth among Ivy players with 0.45 goals per game.
*In goal, junior Ben Berg has played almost the entire season with Saturday being the exception. He is tied for the Ivy League lead with four shutouts.
*Freshman Garon Smith got the start in goal Saturday, not only his first collegiate start but also his first collegiate action. He responded by earning a spot on the Ivy League Honor Roll with five saves against Columbia; the only goal he allowed came on a penalty kick.
*Following this match, it is nothing but Ivy League weekends the rest of the way for the Quakers, starting Saturday with Dartmouth. That match is slated for a 7:30 start and is the second half of a women's-men's doubleheader against the Big Green (the women start at 5 p.m.).
Quoting Head Coach Rudy Fuller
"American has always been a team that plays good soccer, so I expect tomorrow's game to be a good one because we will both try to play. They are on quite a roll right now, 3-0 in the Patriot League, and after a rough start they seem to have things figured out.'
"I expect that, after Saturday's loss, our guys will be ready to get back out there and try to set the record straight."
"I am not concerned so much about our guys being down for American, especially given our result Saturday and the fact that we are playing a high-quality opponent. There is the factor of playing a midweek day game and trying to bring your focus when so many other things are going on -- classes, homework, that stuff. You just hope your guys put it on the backburner when they get to the field and come ready to play."