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    Men’s soccer earns its first home win

    Raphael Abreu takes a shot in the second half. Abreu had one goal on three shots. (Kenneth Ho/The Statesman)

    Scoring trouble? Not for Stony Brook, according to men’s soccer head coach Ryan Anatol.

    The Seawolves broke a two-game scoring drought in style on Sunday evening, coming from behind to earn a 2-1 win over Fairleigh Dickinson University in front of about 200 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

    The goals marked Stony Brook’s fifth and sixth of the season in the team’s seventh game. Two of those goals – including the first on Sunday – came on penalty kicks, and the Seawolves have been kept off the scoresheet on four occasions in this young season.

    But Anatol insists that his team does not have a scoring problem, and is satisfied that is team is getting close.

    “The biggest thing is that we’re creating chances,” Anatol said. “We hit the post three times (in Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Sacred Heart), which doesn’t really happen in soccer. The positive is that we’re creating chances. You keep creating chances, and keep giving yourselves opportunities, and the goals will come.”

    The win on Sunday gave Stony Brook (2-3-2) its second win of the season, and the result pleased the head coach.

    “We’re very happy about the result, to get a win against a good team,” Anatol said. “I thought it was a good game, it was a good battle.”

    Anatol was especially happy with the way his team responded after going down a goal in the second half. Fairleigh Dickinson forward Jonathan Gonzalez took advantage of a scramble in the Seawolves penalty area following a free kick, shooting a hard low shot to the right of a diving Stefan Manz, who couldn’t prevent Gonzalez from giving the Knights a 67th minute lead.

    It didn’t take the Seawolves long to equalize, as a Stony Brook attack in the 70th minute resulted in a penalty kick. Berian Gobeil Cruz was tackled cleanly in the area, but appeared to be fouled when he got up to run down the loose ball, drawing a penalty shout from the crowd but earning nothing from the referee.

    It was Stony Brook’s Raphael Abreu who picked up the ball seconds later, and was chopped down from behind, this time leading the referee to point to the spot. Gobeil Cruz buried the penalty kick, but the referee called it back because a Stony Brook player had entered the area early. Cruz went to the other side on his next kick, leveling the score.

    Abreu notched the game-winner himself, sliding the ball under the Fairleigh Dickinson goalkeeper after a deft turn and pass from Leonardo Fernandes left Abreu on a breakaway six minutes from time, giving the Seawolves their first home win of the season.

    Still, Anatol said the focus of the team is on getting better at this point in the season, and not on wins and losses.

    “We don’t really look at it as our first home win,” Anatol said. “We’re trying to learn our lessons, and we’ve learned a lot of lessons in the past games… And today, I thought you saw improvement. When we went down, how we responded, that was a big improvement. When we went up, how we responded – I think we did a good job of closing the game out.”

    With just three games to play before the start of the conference season, the Seawolves play at home again on Tuesday, taking on Fairfield. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at LaValle Stadium.

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