MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia’s Ryan Cain suffered a rare mishap during his team’s 4-0 win over Northern Illinois in Saturday’s Mid-American Conference clash at Dick Dlesk Stadium.
Cain was temporarily blinded when his left contact lens became dislodged, leaving the disorientated sophomore to chase around the field for about a minute with the offending plastic sliver perched precariously on his fingertip.
Twelve minutes of the second half had elapsed when Cain received the ball on the halfway line. He held off Huskies’ left-back Richard Hall, turned inside to release a pass and then froze as his teammates surged toward NIU’s defensive third. Hall’s flailing arm had inadvertently flicked against the New Zealand native’s eye as the two players wrestled for position. Cain raised his hands to his face to gently remove the lens that was left hanging from his left eyelid as play continued.
“I’m really blind,” Cain told The Soccer Observer. “I can’t see anything basically, so when I was trying to put the lens back in it dropped.”
Fortunately, the lens nestled at Cain’s feet and he retrieved it despite his severely impaired plus 8.5 prescription. Another dilemma soon arose as Northern Illinois counter-attacked down the flank where Cain still stood.
“I couldn’t see a thing on the field when I was running around,” Cain said. He somehow chased back to support his defense and even made a tackle on the edge of WVU’s 18-yard box.
A break in play allowed Cain to reposition the dirt-speckled lens. Eagle-eyed fans in the grandstand offered him an impromptu round of applause once his dilemma ended.
If anything, the incident helped to sharpen the forward’s focus. Cain had wasted two gilt-edged chances to extend West Virginia’s three-goal lead shortly before his misadventure. He earned a reward for his pluck and perseverance on 88 minutes when Christian Diaz and Craig Stephens combined to release him on a 1-vs-1 with NIU goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser.
Cain skipped around his opponent before sliding a neat finish into the open net to complete the scoring. It was his second goal of the season after grabbing the game winner against reigning NCAA champions Indiana on Sept. 8.
Sept. 30, 2013 — Akron Edges West Virginia In Mid-American Conference Clash
Sept. 23, 2013 — WVU’s Failure To Follow Game Plan Leaves LeBlanc Fuming
Aug. 19, 2013 — Bevin’s Free-Kick Edges Mountaineers Past Buckeyes
Aug. 18, 2013 — SLIDESHOW: West Virginia 1 Ohio State 0