Men’s Soccer: Bustamante and Bell bring Tribe to tie

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As William and Mary senior forward Antonio Bustamante streaked back to midfield late in the first half, arms extended, it seemed like the Tribe was on track to secure a victory after a series of tough Colonial Athletic Association matchups. It was not to be, as by the end of the match Saturday, the Tribe (2-6-2, 0-2-1 CAA) would draw even against Northeastern (3-5-1, 1-1-1 CAA), 2-2.

“The start to the second half is not what we hoped for or expected,” head coach Chris Norris said. “When the other team is down, you have to expect that they’re going to raise their intensity level, and they did. … we didn’t do a good job defending, passing, keeping the ball in midfield. They punished us for it.”

The elation of Bustamante’s early score was shattered by two Northeastern goals, one in the top right corner and the other an own goal by the Tribe. Hope was restored for the College in the 62nd minute, when a curling shot from senior forward Ryder Bell found its way to the back of the Huskies’ net.

With the game tied, the Huskies bit back, matching the Tribe’s physicality with their own unflagging play. Shots rang out from midfield, missing just left, just right and just above. Elbows, players and cards — seven yellows in total — went flying.

The end of regulation saw the stalemate hold, and two golden-goal overtime periods saw little action to speak of. After 110 minutes of battle, the teams relented to a 2-2 draw.

This is the Tribe’s second tie of the season, continuing a winless streak that has lasted since Sept. 11. The Tribe sits third from the bottom of the CAA, their conference record only beating out those of Elon (3-6-1, 0-3-1 CAA) and Charleston (3-7-2, 0-3-1 CAA). The Tribe has a steep hill to climb, but Norris downplayed concerns about the Tribe’s CAA future.

Bustamante’s early goal moved him into a tie for the 10th-most tallies all time for the Tribe. His total sits at 33 through his four-year career.

“It’s an honor to be part of such an elite group,” Bustamante said. “I never saw myself scoring this many goals. I’ve been fortunate enough to take advantage of my chances.”

Bell, making his return following a three-game absence due to concussion, maintained his spot as the Tribe’s top scorer. His goal moved his total to five on the season and kept him among the most productive players in the nation in terms of goals per game. Senior goalkeeper Sam Onyeader also made his second consecutive start following a lengthy hiatus due to injury, tallying three saves on the night.

Conference action continues Wednesday as the Tribe hosts CAA leader James Madison.

Bustamante had an early goal that appeared to make for a promising match for the Tribe, but would ultimately contribute to a 2-2 tie.