Freezing rain gave way to quarter-sized snow at FirstEnergy Stadium and a game as strange as the weather played out.
The game-winner came with 6:47 remaining when Egbo flicked a header to the right corner on a cross from Morgan Hackworth.
“[He] allows me to fall asleep at night,” Zips coach Jared Embick said of Egbo. “These guys are tremendous players and in these games, they rise to the occasion.”
Marcel Zajac added a penalty kick with 2:45 remaining. He has scored a point in seven of Akron’s last eight games.
An unfortunate delay with 8:46 remaining in the first half caused a 25-minute stoppage and through balls that usually skip across Cub Cadet Field, got caught up in the white stuff.
Although the Zips (11-6-2) had the best chance in the first half after Garret Potter saved a point-blank shot by Diogo Pacheco, the half was highlighted by a scary incident in which Rider defender Arthur Herpreck hit Broncs keeper Pablo Gatinois in the shoulder, causing the sophomore’s head to snap back and the net minder to helicopter uncontrollably.
Gatinois lay motionless and had to be carted off the field, causing the almost half-hour delay, although the keeper had movement when he left.
“It wasn’t a normal game,” Zips defender Abdi Mohamed said. “Obviously, going into it with the weather, we knew it was going to be a tough one, but the other team is also playing on the same field.
“With the injury, you hope that the other player is doing OK. We just had to go in, get together, talk amongst ourselves and get back into it.”
Through it all, Akron kept its collective head and finally broke through 5:16 into the second half thanks to Egbo.
The forward deked the defense at the top of the box before one-touching it to the left and blasting a shot past a helpless Potter.
The lead held up for much of the second half, but the Broncs (10-10-1) never gave up and found the equalizer when Emmanuel Kouma crossed one in the box that Pablo DeCastro got a head on, flicking it past Ben Lundt.
The two met Oct. 1 with the Orange winning 3-1. Both teams are in much different places now, however, as unseeded Akron has won five in a row and hasn’t lost in over a month (Oct. 13, 2-1 vs. West Virginia).
On the flip side, Syracuse is winless in its last four matches at 0-2-2 and hasn’t won since Oct. 16 (St. Bonaventure, 7-0).
“We don’t need to change anything,” Egbo said. “We just have to come out and play like we did the second half. If we play Akron soccer, everyone knows we can play anybody, anywhere, anytime and beat them.”
Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse University mens soccer team will host Akron in a NCAA Tournament second round game 2 p.m. Sunday at the SU Soccer Stadium.
Tickets for Sundays match are $6 for adults and $3 for seniors and youth ages 18 and under. The first 300 Syracuse University students to present an ID at the student ticket booth will receive free admission courtesy of Orange head coach Ian McIntyre. Gates open at 1 p.m.
Syracuse will make its fourth NCAA tournament appearance in the last five years and the fifth in the last seven years. The Orange have a 7-3-2 all-time record in tournament play.