Men's Soccer: Porter scores off long throw to draw with No. 19 Brown
“Danger” has come to define the men’s soccer team and its 2012 Ivy League play. In their double-overtime match against No. 19 Brown on Saturday night, the Tigers (5-3-1 overall, 1-0-1 Ivy League) allowed just one goal — a rocket shot off of a redirected corner kick in the 38th minute — but exploited the massive Brown defenders on a chance of their own, pulling out a 1-1 draw against the Bears (8-1-2, 1-0-1).
“Granted, we wanted to take the three points [from a win], but the goal they scored was a great goal,” senior co-captain and center back Mark Linnville said. “We had several chances; I think we probably had more than they did. Our goal was excellent too. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win out of that.”
For the second game in a row, sophomore forward Cameron Porter was Princeton’s lifeline. In the 73rd minute, Linnville delivered a well-crafted long throw-in to the box. Senior co-captain and midfielder Matt Sanner headed the toss and Porter finished the play, slipping behind Brown goalie Sam Kernan-Schloss and poking it into the net to tie the game 1-1.
“Sanner and I just kind of look at each other and give a head nod or read each other’s eyes. We kind of know where to put the ball on those,” Linnville said. “On that one, we both looked at each other and I was like, ‘alright, I’ll get the ball right near Sanner and he’ll flick it in,’ and luckily we had someone crash on the back post ... Sanner did a great job of holding his defender off, Cam was in the right place at the right time — he got the toe poke — and that’s really how you draw it up on the training ground.”
“Linnville is such a weapon with his long throw. He can just turn every throw in into a corner kick because he can essentially just launch it into the box,” Sanner said. “We will probably get six or seven of those a game, and I’d like to think that I can get a good flick on at least two a game and put them in good spots for guys like Cam to finish. We should get one per game off a throw in like that. Mark and I switch it up, and it’s tough to defend ... pretty dangerous.”
On both sides of the pitch, offenses struggled to gain an advantage as Princeton and Brown defenses created impenetrable barriers. Indeed, the first direct shot on either goal appeared in the stat column toward the end of the first half, in the 33rd minute, when a Brown midfielder took a shot on junior goalie Seth MacMillan from about 40 yards away.
Princeton, a dangerous force in the Ivy League, immediately retaliated. Porter and Sanner collaborated for the first of many times, but a shot was knocked away by Kernan-Schloss. Sophomore midfielder Myles McGinley took the rebound on a second line of offense but shot the ball too high.
The Tigers truly found their rhythm in the second half. “We got really good pressure, whereas they kind of just resorted to hitting a long ball and trying to make something off that. Especially in the second half, we really got ahold of the game — we were passing through and finding really good channels to exploit,” Linnville said. “On the offensive side, we have to continue to create chances. Brown has a great defense and played really well last night. But we still need to create chances and make sure we get dangerous from our set pieces.”
After being outshot in the first period, the Tigers finished the game with more attempts than the Bears, 19-15. MacMillan posed an enormous threat of his own, making three saves for the Tigers and conceding only once.
“Brown is very direct in their play ... The big boys crash the box hard, and it’s difficult to defend, but we did a good job of that,” Sanner said. “We knew they weren’t going to break us apart, we knew we had to be sharp on their restarts and we were.”
The threatening Tigers will take a break from conference play and host No. 24 Creighton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised on ESPNU.
“We know it’s a great opportunity to get ourselves back on the national stage,” Linnville said. “We’re trying to show everyone that we are for real, and a win against Creighton on national television will be a great way to announce that we’re back.”