On Friday, with 13 minutes left in regulation, the Binghamton men’s soccer team stood at home with a 2-0 lead and the season’s first win in sight. In the ensuing possessions, Niagara found the back of the net twice as BU recorded its first tie of the season, extending its winless streak to 13 games going back to last season.

“I feel disappointed,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “I thought the guys played really well, winning late in the second half to letting a goal kind of slip in. Give Niagara some credit, they kept coming after us, but I felt like we stopped doing the things we were very successful at early on in the game. But a lot of promising things happened today. We scored good goals, we got wide guys into the attack, and we had more balls in the box today. So a lot of things we’ve been working on in training we’re getting to see a little bit. I think that hopefully, this means we’re turning the corner, we do get some guys back from injury this week hopefully, so we’re looking forward to that as well.”

BU (0-4-1) came out of the gates ready for the Niagara (1-3-1) attack. The Purple Eagles pressured the home side early on, but attack after attack was halted by the Binghamton back line. The Bearcats were forced to handle three early corner kicks, even making some goal line clearances to maintain their first half clean sheet. Marco opted to utilize three center backs, with two wingbacks putting in defensive and offensive shifts on either side.

“I don’t want to say we experimented with three [center backs], because we thought that we would be playing with three,” Marco said. “Sometimes when you play against two upfront it’s better to play with three center backs, and I thought the group played pretty well. We were a little more direct today than we’ve been in the past, so hopefully that continues to be a theme for the guys, to have vertical possession. But overall I’m pleased with the performance, just disappointed in the outcome.”

Junior back Joe Spires led the BU charge, pushing upfield high when the Bearcats had the ball, and coming back to help sweep up attacks on the other side of the pitch. He capped his performance off with a goal in the 52nd minute, running onto a cross from junior midfielder Shawn Coles and slotting it past the keeper.

“[Spires] couldn’t play in the last game,” Marco said. “But I thought he played really well tonight, fitness needs to improve a little bit but we saw his productivity today, and what an absolute strike.”

Spires was one of two Binghamton defenders to score, as sophomore back Carlo Cavalar also found the back of the net with a close range header just four minutes later to make it 2-0. A three-man substitution at the end of the first half bled into the second period, with Marco switching out his entire attacking line to balance out his side’s defensive performance. However, the Bearcats were unable to hold on as two late goals from Niagara — within six minutes of each other — prevented the home side from obtaining its first win of the season.

Niagara broke the shutout in the 78th minute with a cross into the box that led to a shot right while redshirt senior goalkeeper P.J. Parker came out left. Niagara struck again in the 85th minute when the away side took advantage of a close-range rebound to make it 2-2. Parker was unable to corral the long-range shot from the Purple Eagles. A free kick in the final minute of the match by junior midfielder Markos Touroukis was Binghamton’s last chance at a winner, but the Niagara keeper guided the attempt over the bar with a fingertip save to maintain the draw.

“I think that all the guys that went in today worked really hard when we had the ball and when [Niagara] had the ball,” Marco said. “I thought all of them worked really hard. It will be interesting to pick the team next week for sure … I like how we are getting better on our dead balls. Services were much better today than they were in previous games. So I think there’s a lot of promise to take away from today. [I] just feel disappointed and kind of let down that we couldn’t get a W.”

The Bearcats will continue their stay at home on Saturday, Sept. 17 against Canisius College. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.