HARROGATE, Tenn. — Danilo da Silva scored in the 98th minute to lift the No. 24 Railsplitters (3-0) over the 11th-ranked Young Harris Mountain Lions (2-1-1) in a 2-1 overtime thriller at the LMU Soccer Complex on Saturday afternoon.
By handing No. 11 Young Harris its first loss of the season, Lincoln Memorial defeated its highest ranked opponent since taking down No. 3 Tusculum in 2008.
Saturday’s match was remarkably physical, as the two teams combined for 39 fouls and nine cards. But the turning point came in the 77th minute, when Young Harris defender Sam Jones received a red card for an unintentional kick that struck Miguel Reis in the face. The match was tied at 1-1 at the time of the red card.
The Railsplitters weren’t immediately able to capitalize on the one-man advantage. In fact, the Mountain Lions produced the two best scoring chances before regulation ended, as an 84th-minute shot by Dani Fischer slid just to the left of the LMU goal before goalkeeper Caleb Cothrin made a spectacular diving save off a free kick in the 88th minute to keep the score level.
However, with time winding down in the first overtime period, Andres Pratto fed a long pass into the left side of the box for da Silva, who converted the left-footed strike to end the match. The goal was the third of the season for da Silva, who has now scored in all three of the team’s matches.
The two teams traded goals in the first half to get to that point.
Like da Silva, Felipe de Sousa scored for the third consecutive game to give the Railsplitters the lead initially, heading home a rebound off a shot from Philip Wong that clanged off the crossbar in the 27th minute. The Mountain Lions responded just four minutes later on a header from Fischer that was assisted by Macauley King.
The Railsplitters and Mountain Lions were evenly matched in every statistical category, as the two teams fired off an identical 14 shots and five shots on goal. Lincoln Memorial committed 21 fouls compared to 18 for Young Harris. The Mountain Lions did get the better of the Railsplitters in corner kicks, though, finishing with an 8-4 edge in that department.
Cothrin picked up his second win in goal for the Railsplitters, making four saves, including the game-saving stop in the 88th minute.
The Railsplitters will be seeking some revenge when they open South Atlantic Conference play on Wednesday with a trip to Tusculum, who ended LMU’s 2016 campaign with a 2-1 double-overtime loss in the title match of the SAC Championship. Kickoff is set for 7:30 in Greeneville, Tennessee.