ONEONTA — Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worst than the Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team’s 2-1 home overtime loss to Cortland last Saturday.
It was another heartbreaker on Friday when Zef Saljanin’s goal with just three seconds left in the second overtime gave Oneonta a 2-1 win over the Cardinals in SUNY Athletic Conference play.
“It was a great soccer game, but a devastating loss as far as our coaching staff and players are concerned,” Plattsburgh coach Chris Waterbury said. “It’s going to be tough to bounce back from this one.”
Plattsburgh (8-3-1, 2-2) took the early lead when Fabian Chaparro crossed the ball into the box where Tom Greene got control, turned and found the net with 10:36 gone in the first half.
“We were playing well and holding on to the lead,” Waterbury said. “We hit the post two times in the first half and once in the second half.
“But we weren’t able to keep the lead. We lost Greene to injury in the first half and also C.J. Pourakis. We had four or five guys get hurt. It really hurt us when Greene went down and we didn’t have him for the second half.”
Plattsburgh was able to hold its advantage until 32:41 was gone in the second half when the Red Dragons (8-2-3, 4-0-1) tied it off a Jake Sutherland cross and Dylan Williams’ header.
The disappointing end for Plattsburgh came with 9:57 gone in the second overtime when Saljanin scored the game-winning goal off Williams’ free kick.
“It was a soft grass field and our players were fatigued,” Waterbury said. “We fouled them and they had a free kick with six seconds left. They put the kick on goal and their guy went up and got it. It was a nice header.”
Oneonta finished with a 16-12 advantage in shots. Vincent Taglione made seven saves for the Red Dragons and Mitchell Jordon nine stops for Plattsburgh.
“Even though we were creating chances, their size differential was killing us,” Waterbury said. “Still, I was proud of the guys because they gave it their all.
“We also had two defenders who weren’t able to make the trip because of injuries and we lost a couple more defenders (Friday). That’s an area we’re not deep at.”
The Cardinals, who slipped to 2-2 in conference play, now have a big game at 1 p.m. in New Paltz today while trying to get back going in the right direction.
“Because of the outcome of (Friday’s) game and the injuries, this is going to be the hardest game we’ve played,” Waterbury said.
“No question, we need to win it.”
Oneonta 2, Plattsburgh 1 (OT)
Plattsburgh 1 0 0 0 — 1
Oneonta 0 1 0 1 — 2
First half- 1, PSU, Greene (Chaparro), 10:36.
Second half- 2, One, Williams (Sutherland), 32:41.
Second overtime- 3, One, Saljanin (Williams), 9:57.
Shots: Oneonta 16, Plattsburgh 12.
Saves: Jordon, PSU, 9. Taglione, One, 7.