Army-Navy fans still have a little over a month to wait before the two military academies meet on the gridiron. But the rivalry got a warm up last week when the schools met for the Army Navy Soccer Cup IV.
Fans packed PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union, last Tuesday to watch the Navy Midshipmen and Army Black Knights men’s soccer teams square off on the pitch. And after three straight losses, Army defeated Navy for the first time, 2-1.
The Black Knights played strong out of the gate, with senior Cody Guerry opening the scoring in the 20th minute. Guerry looked to be offside, but the goal stood. Navy almost answered a few minutes later with a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar.
Less than 10 minutes after Army’s first goal, junior Nick Williams took possession in the right corner of the box. Navy keeper Jackson Morgan rushed out to cover him, leaving the net open. Morgan crossed the ball to Cody Guerry who blasted a shot from the 18-yard line that beat two defenders who tried covering the net.
The second half opened much like the first, with Army mostly controlling the possession. But in the 69th minute, Navy’s Thomas Shiiba was awarded a penalty kick after being taken out in the box by Army goalie Chris Britt. Jamie Dubyowski took the kick and scored Navy’s first and only goal of the match.
The game was the first Army-Navy Cup that ended in regulation time.
“I can’t process it,” Guerry said after the match. “We’ve been thinking about this a lot of four years. It means a lot that I could help my team to get this victory.”
More than 9,000 attended the game, which is the third highest attendance of a men’s NCAA soccer game this season. The energy level in the stadium was very high, and the majority of the cheering came from a packed Army section. Cadets from West Point travelled more than 150 miles to support their team. They were joined by alumni and families also came out to cheer on both the Black Knights and the Midshipmen.
Many youth soccer teams were also in attendance, including kids from Future Player Academy (FPA Premier), a local 14-and-under boys team that recently won US Club Soccer PA State Cup.
FPA Premier coach Joe Brown said he wanted his team to see a game on the level that they may play at one day.
“I’m hoping to see good, quality soccer for [my players],” Brown added. “They all aspire to play in college. [This lets them] see what that looks like.”
Brown wasn’t disappointed. Both teams played well, and the game was a great matchup between two high-level college teams.
Army’s win just fuels the rivalry between the schools — and keeps fans on the edge of their seats for December’s football game.
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