FREEHOLD BORO - Marlboro junior Steven Karp has scored a couple big goals for his Mustangs boys soccer team already, but he considers the goal he scored Wednesday against Freehold Boro the most memorable goal he has scored so far.

Regardless of which goal tops the list, Karp is building a resume as a clutch scorer for a team that is continuing to live up to a reputation as a sleeper team in Class A North.

Karp scored the game-winning goal in the 77th minute Wednesday to seal a crucial 3-2 win for the Mustangs over the Colonials - ranked No. 8 in the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10.

"This win is going to carry us a long way," Karp said. "We've had other wins, but scoring with three minutes left to win, it doesn't get much bigger than that."

Karp one-timed a long free kick by junior Justin Goldstein out of the air for the go-ahead goal with a little more than three minutes left. Goldstein boomed the ball from 10 yards inside of midfield on the right side all the way to the opposite post, where Karp ran under the ball and volleyed it out of the air and into the far corner of the netting.

"Before the play even started, I knew it was going to be a goal," Karp said. "We had been close a couple times and I knew (Goldstein) was going to deliver a great ball. Sure enough, he put it right where it had to be and all I had to do was run to it."

Karp also assisted the equalizer in the 50th minute by flicking a throw-in to the near left post, where junior Ryan LaRocca headed the ball off of Freehold goalkeeper Jesus Lopez and in. Seven minutes later, the Mustangs nearly took the lead when senior Noah Moorstein drilled a close-range shot off the crossbar.

The teams traded goals in the first half, with Freehold opening the scoring on a near-post header by junior Tommy Boyle on an Andy Rizo corner kick in the 18th minute. Prior to that corner kick, Marlboro had earned four shots without conceding one to Freehold, but the Colonials made the most of their first chance.

"The first goal was my fault," Karp said. "I was supposed to defend the near post and I lost track of (Boyle). I really wanted to get redemption for that, so it's a good thing we came back."

Marlboro tied the game in the 33rd on a header by senior Andrew Toron on a pass into the box by junior Dan McGrath. Freehold struck back in the 39th to take the lead prior to halftime, with Jose Silva winning a clearance and beating goalkeeper James Weinberg one-on-one. Silva's shot was only the third of the game by Freehold and Marlboro went on to outshoot the Colonials 16-7.

"At halftime, except for the score, I thought we were right where we needed to be," Marlboro coach Dave Santos said. "We were possessing pretty well and we got some chances that we didn't quite capitalize on. Even the goals came on two mistakes and in the second half, my defense did a great job closing off the space for Rizo and (Jose) Silva and that wasn't the case in the first half."

Freehold had a chance to take the lead just minutes before the game-winner. Rizo beat a defender in the right side of the 18-yard box and got a shot off on goal that Weinberg denied.

Wednesday's win ends a brief two-game skid within the A North division for Marlboro, which gives the Mustangs a .500 record within the division after one trip through the schedule. The wins include a 2-1 decision over No. 6 Manalapan, led by two goals by Karp.

"Manalapan is a very good team and that might be the best team we've beaten, but it's games like this when you score in the last few minutes that guys remember," Karp said.

Marlboro advanced to the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals last year as a No. 19 seed, knocking off No. 14 Red Bank and No. 3 Toms River North before falling to eventual champion Freehold Township. Although the Mustangs made strides by the time the postseason rolled around, they entered this year without its top two scorers from 2014 - Bryan DaSilva (20 goals) and Ben Metzger (10).

"Last year was an entirely different team," Santos said. "We were very one-dimensional. We're trying to take more of a team approach with this group and we're getting there. We had some periods today where we looked really good and we had some other parts where we got a little sloppy. But we're growing as a team and we'll get there."

Box Score

Marlboro 3, Freehold 2

1

2

F

Marlboro (4-3-1, 3-3-1)

1

2

3

Freehold Boro (4-4-1, 2-4-1)

2

0

2

Goals (Assists): (M) Andrew Toron (Dan McGrath) 33’, Ryan LaRocca (Steven Karp) 50’, Steven Karp (Justin Goldstein) 77’; (F) Tommy Boyle (Andy Rizo) 18’, Jose Silva 38’
Shots: Marlboro, 16-7
Saves: (M) James Weinberg 3; (F) Jesus Lopez 6