ORONO – Everyone wants their first collegiate goal to be memorable.
Northeastern University junior center forward Ahmed Talaat’s first goal was certainly that Tuesday afternoon.
Talaat scored with 3:43 remaining in regulation to break a tie and give the Huskies a 2-1 victory over the University of Maine at Alumni Field.
Northeastern improved to 2-0 while Maine fell to 0-3.
Freshman midfielder Lars Okland’s precise through ball sent Talaat in alone on Maine goalie Jack Brunino.
He waltzed around Brunino before calmly avoiding the challenges of two desperate defenders at the post and slotting the ball home.
“There was an empty net. [Even with the defenders back], the goal was big enough so I looked at the free place and shot it,” said Talaat, who is in his second season at NU after transferring from Boston College.
Northeastern coach Brian Ainscough said Talaat has “all the tools in the world. He can make stuff out of nothing. That was a very good individual effort and it won the game for us.”
Maine senior back and co-captain Jason Jacobe was one of the defenders trying to stymie Talaat.
“We got too anxious without the goalie in the net. We dove in and he danced around us,” said Jacobe. “He picked a good time to score his first goal.”
Alexander Volk opened the scoring 27:50 into the game when he drove home a rebound from 12 yards out after Greg Kilkenny’s curling free kick bounced off the chest of Maine goalie Jack Brunino, who took full responsibility for the goal.
“I was planning what I was going to do with the ball [after I caught it] and I took my eye off it,” said Brunino.
Freshman striker Philip Reed of Gorham equalized things just under 12 minutes later when he roofed a loose ball from 15 yards out after goalie Mahmoud Talaat and Maine’s Martin John collided.
John got a piece of Kenny Caceros’ cross but the goalie knocked it into the box.
Northeastern dominated the game’s first 30 minutes.
Maine didn’t generate its first shot at goal until 9:10 remained in the half and Reed tied it with their second shot.
The Bears carried that momentum into the second half and had the better of the play in the second half although both teams created some sparkling chances.
“Maine really took it to us for a bit in the second half. We were lucky to get the goal in the end to win it,” said NU jnior center back Padraig Tangney.
Ainscough said, “Maine probably deserved to get a lot more out of the game today.”
Ahmed Talaat rolled a 15-yarder inches wide of the left post with 32 minutes left and Maine’s Dimitri Anastasiou had a great chance with 11 minutes left only to turn and sail a 14-yarder over the crossbar.
Talaat set up Nicholas Patrikis to the left of Brunino with 5:20 remaining but Brunino rejected Patrikis’ scorching 12-yarder with his right leg.
Brunino finished with eight saves on 20 shots while Mahmoud Talaat made two saves on 11 shots.