In his first game with the Baltimore Bays, Danny Santoro converted his first shot, a 35-yard drive, four minutes into the second overtime for a 2-1 win over the Charlotte Eagles in a U.S. Interregional Soccer League game before 1,286 at UMBC Stadium.
"Coach [Kevin Healey] told me to warm up because Terry Locklear was getting leg cramps and that was the only way I would get in," said Santoro.
"At first, I didn't have the ball, and [Mark] Mettrick was calling for it. I turned and saw no defense ahead of me. So I put my head down and shot it," Santoro, 19, said of the game-winner.
Playing without two of their top scorers, the Bays (5-10) struggled offensively and needed a clutch performance from goalie Zac Thornton.
Thornton, who had not started in four games, anchored the Bays' defense with nine saves. He collected five of those saves in the first six minutes of the second half, and made back-to-back saves with 17 minutes left in regulation to keep the score tied.
"I was nervous, because I had a bad outing the last time we were at home," Thornton said.
The victory kept alive the seventh-place Bays' slim hopes of making the fourth and final playoff spot, but they needed help from other teams over the weekend.
Charlotte (4-10) took 26 shots against Thornton (Essex Community College and John Carroll). The Bays only managed 14 shots.
The Bays were without top scorer Tarik Walker (chickenpox), who will rejoin the team for practice Thursday and play in the season finale against Richmond on Friday at UMBC. Walker had five goals in his past seven games for a team-high 11 points.
Billy Ronson, second on the team in assists with two, also was out because of a one-game suspension after picking up four yellow cards for the season.
In regulation, Baltimore scored first after two near-misses by Charlotte. Bays midfielder Sam Mangione shifted the pressure onto the Eagles with a crossing pass from the left wing into a crowd outside the right corner of the goal. Baltimore forward Darrick Marcano jumped into the mob to head the ball past goalie Todd Herman for a 1-0 lead 21 minutes into the first half.
It was a team-leading fifth assist for Mangione.
Charlotte controlled the tempo for the remainder of the half.
On a free kick, Eagles midfielder Jason Acres blasted a 25-yard shot into the upper-left corner to tie the game at 1 with 4:53 left in the half.
Charlotte 1 0 0 0 -- 1
Baltimore 1 0 0 1 -- 2