FORT MYERS, Fla. – Playing its second game of the season, the FGCU men’s soccer team (1-0-1) and the University of Portland (1-0-2) matched each other for 110 minutes as the two sides battled to a 0-0 double-overtime tie Thursday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
The match was even throughout, with each team having a few quality chances. However, the Eagles had the better run of play late in the contest, outshooting the Pilots 4-0 in the second 10-minute OT session. Arguably the best effort of the evening came in the closing seconds when Xavier Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M./El Dorado HS/Westminster) played a ball into Miguel Jaime (Greenwood Village, Colo./Cherry Creek HS), but the freshman wasn’t able to make solid contact near the back post with two seconds remaining.
FGCU outshot the Pilots, 15-13, but Portland forced FGCU goalkeeper Nathan Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS) into four saves compared with one for its keeper. However, Ingham – the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Week – was equal to each challenge as he recorded his second straight shutout to open the season and 12th of the redshirt junior’s career.
“I think both teams competed, but overall it was a ho-hum game without a lot of life and you’ll sometimes have those early in the season,” head coach Bob Butehorn said. “I give them (Portland) credit for coming in and getting a good result. I don’t think we played poorly and we got to look at a lot of different guys, so we’ll use that as a springboard into the Akron game.”
Making his first appearance of the year, defending A-Sun Freshman of the Year Madrid made his presence felt almost immediately. The midfielder set up Henry Penagos (Margate, Fla./American Heritage School of Boca/Delray) with a great thru ball in the 3rd minute, but the redshirt senior’s shot was saved. A few minutes later, Madrid attempted an effort of his own which just flew high. Then, in the 25th minute, he had a shot blocked down in the box with the UP goalkeeper out of position. The effort was close to being a hand ball, but the referee ruled it a clean decision.
One of the most important defensive plays of the game – if not the most important – came in the waning moments of the first half as Portland had Ingham out of position and beat. However, Aaron Guillen (El Paso, Texas/Coronado HS), also making his first appearance of the season, proved why he was the only defender who was a unanimous selection to the A-Sun All-Conference Preseason Team as the 5-11 junior quickly moved to the goal line and headed out what would have been a sure Portland goal.
Butehorn, who had two second-half substitutes score goals in FGCU’s win over USF last Friday, tried to repeat the magic Thursday night as he made four changes out of the halftime break. One of those was Derek Gebhard (Lutz, Fla./George Steinbrenner HS) as the freshman proved to be a dangerous weapon in the attacking portion of the field, creating several chances and generating the only two shots from eight substitutes on the evening.
Once into overtime, Portland had a corner kick in the first session while the Eagles had two, but neither resulted in a strike despite a couple flurries of action in front of the UP net. The all-time series between the two programs remains tied, 0-0-2, following a 1-1 deadlock during the 2011 season. The double-overtime tie was the first 0-0 finish for the Green and Blue since Oct. 17 of last season when they tied Mercer at The Nest.
The contest was a matchup of two teams receiving votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire National Poll this week. FGCU is the first team out of the Top 25 as with 48 points they sit just two behind No. 25 Clemson and 10 ahead of the next-closest team receiving votes, Akron.
That same Akron team travels to Southwest Florida for a primetime showdown with FGCU on Saturday night at 7. The Zips, who were the 2010 National Champions and 2009 National Runner-Up, are 0-2 to the start season after falling at USF Thursday night, 2-1. Akron tied the game in the second half, but USF scored with just 30 seconds remaining in the second overtime period. Akron finished last year ranked No. 17 in the country and started this year No. 13 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason Poll.
GAME NOTES: This was the first time in FGCU history that the Eagles have opened a season with two consecutive home games … Madrid finished with a game-high four shots … the Eagles lone shot on net came off Penagos’s effort in the 3rd minute … one yellow card was handed out to Portland … FGCU was whistled for being offside three times compared with one for the Pilots … 701 fans were in attendance … Portland plays at USF on Sunday at Noon.
For 2014 men’s soccer ticket information, visit the Alico Arena Ticket Office, call 239-590-7145 or log on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. For up-to-the minute information and a behind-the-scenes look at the program, follow on Twitter @FGCU_MSoccer and Instagram @FGCU_MSoccer.