JEFFERSON CITY — Facing a 1-0 deficit at the half, Carson-Newman completed a second half comeback bid to open South Atlantic Conference play with a 2-1 win over Lincoln Memorial under the lights of McCown Field on Wednesday night.
The win marks the first league lidlifting victory for Carson-Newman (3-1, 1-0 SAC) since 2016. It also extends its winning streak over Lincoln Memorial (0-2-2, 0-1 SAC) to three-straight.
This was the first game this season in which C-N successfully made a comeback after being down at the half. While they had the comeback completed in the 80th, the Eagles had to play the final 8:58 with just 10 players following a red card shown to Tony Saldana. This was the first time the Eagles had won a match a player down since Sept. 12, 2016, when they defeated USC Aiken, 1-0.
“Obviously going a goal down, we had to show some character to dig ourselves back into the game,” Carson-Newman coach Stephen Lyons said. “The way the boys reacted was fantastic even when we went down to 10 men. The guys just stuck to their roles, did what they needed to do and, to me, it showed a lot of character, a lot of belief in what we’re able to achieve.”
Jorge Melgar got the Railsplitters on the board first with a helping hand from Ueslei Silva in the 37th minute. Melgar received a dish from Silva near the top right of the 18-yard box that he sent past a sliding Bram Kaarsgaren.
Thaylan Silva provided the equalizer in the 64th minute on a hectic play-in off of a corner that was sent off of the head of Kensho Yoshikoshi. His header hit off of a Railsplitter before ricocheting near the feet of LMU’s netminder Robin Hermann. Hermann was too late to respond with Silva picking up the open ball and sending it along the ground into the back right corner, tying the game 1-1.
With just over 10 minutes left in the match, the comeback bid for C-N was made a reality thanks to Sofian Maghouz, making his Orange and Blue debut. Racing toward the inner-most portion of the 18-yard box, Tony Saldana made a slight pass back to an open Maghouz just before entering the six-yard box. The freshman needed just a short arching shot past the left arm of Hermann to give him his first career goal and the game-winner on the night.
“It meant a lot [to score the goal],” Maghouz said. “It was a tough game. To be down 1-0 and come back 2-1, it was a thrilling game. To win as well and get a big result for the team after last week’s loss [to Lee], it was great, and in my debut, as well. There’s no better feeling than to score.”
Maghouz was one of just two Eagles to lead the team with a trio of shots in the match, the other being Yoshikoshi.
Carson-Newman was in double-digit shot attempts for a fourth-straight match, sending out 15 opportunities compared to 10 from LMU. C-N also edged the Railsplitters in terms of shots on goal with a slim one-shot margin, 8-7. Of those 10, four came from Danilo Seglio alone, also landing three on goal.
Kaarsgaren needed just one save in the first half before the Railsplitters’ attack pressured him to make five in the second half. As for Hermann, he also needed six saves on the night with most of his coming in the first half on four captures.
Each team saw 12 fouls on the night for a total of 24 in the match, the second-most of the season behind the 34 combined fouls committed against Lee.
The three-match homestand continues for the Eagles on Saturday as Newberry comes to town. That match is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.