SMU comes back for win against No. 16 Akron

By Phil Mayer

Emil Cuello secured the win for the Mustangs after a long fought battle. Photo credit: SMU Men’s Soccer Twitter account

Emil Cuello scored two goals, the second in overtime, as SMU beat No. 16 Akron 4-3 Monday night in a rematch of a quarterfinal game of last season’s NCAA Tournament. Ten months earlier, the Zips knocked SMU out of the tournament to advance to the national semifinals.

After winning the American Athletic Conference title and reaching the NCAA tournament in 2015, SMU started this season 2-5 record and entered Monday’s game on a four-game losing streak.

After over an hour of a game delay due to lightning, the game did not start well for SMU as Akron took an early lead with two quick goals from Adam Najem in the 18th and 19th minute. Garrett McGlaughlin scored SMU’s first goal 21st minute and SMU entered halftime down 2-1.

Shortly after McLughlin scored, SMU goalkeeper Michael Nelson collided with an Akron player and left the game with an injury. Nelson had played all 90 minutes of every game to that point.

In the second half, Mauro Cichero scored on a header on a cross from Eddie Munjoma to tie the score at 2. Akron took the lead back with a goal in the 72nd minute. SMU tied up the game eight minutes later when Cuello scored his first goal, on a corner kick. The two teams went scoreless for the next ten minutes, and the game went to overtime. Cuello scored in the 98th minute to win the game for the Mustangs.

SMU took 11 shots and Akron took 12. Nick Ruiz, who replaced Nelson, made 5 saves. Cuello’s goals were his first of the season.

Watch Cuello’s winning shot below.

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