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Grad Soccer Team Beats FC Zaire, 3-1

\By Josh Elliott
Team Member

A somewhat transformed MIT graduate soccer team continued its good start to the season with a solid 3­1 win over FC Zaire.

Timely returns to fitness by first team starters Steffen Ernst G and Russ Allgor G allowed a smooth transition in a team hurt by last week's injuries to Jose Robles G and Josh Elliott G. Ernst replaced Robles directly in the stopper position, while Allgor's return to the defense allowed Harry Bingham G to replace Elliott in midfield.

This was a game that MIT dominated for long periods of time without stamping its authority on it until well into the second half. The first half saw MIT dominate in spite of playing into a strong headwind. Several chances were created in the first half hour as MIT exploited a weakness down Zaire's left flank.

On three occasions MIT broke through here. Grant Schaffner G found himself in a one-on-one with the Zaire goalie but the shot was well saved; Bingham shot just past the top corner from an almost identical position, and a mazy run by Schaffner along the right goal line ended with a good chance for Bashar Zeitoon G - which he hit too close to the goalie from about 8 yards.

In one of their few forays into the MIT penalty area, Zaire scored against the run of play. Their right winger, running along the top of the penalty area, slipped a sly pass through to their center forward. His angled drive backwards across the goal was unluckily deflected by Rich Stringfellow G into the net.

After continuously exposing Zaire's weakness on the defensive wings, MIT finally capitalized when Pfaff switched the play from left to right where an unmarked Rodrigo Capaz G, in typical Brazilian fashion, consecutively juggled the ball around his panic­stricken retreating marker and then the goalie before sliding the ball into the net.

With the wind at its back, MIT dominated at the start of the second half. After 11 minutes it took the lead for good when Stringfellow crossed to Dias who laid the ball off into the path of onrushing Zeitoon. He swerved a powerful shot past the helpless Zaire keeper.

The game was ended as a contest in the 64th minute when a long cross from the left by Resnik looked like it would be easily gathered by the Zaire goalie. To his consternation, the ball popped out when he hit the ground. The conveniently waiting Mark Vanderhelm G couldn't believe his luck and calmly shot over the prone goalie and into the roof of the onion bag.