BOCA RATON, Fla. – Playing with only 10 men for the final 50 minutes of the game, the FGCU men’s soccer team (0-2-1) fought back from a 2-0 second-half deficit to force overtime, but ultimately fell in the 106th minute at Florida Atlantic University Wednesday night, 3-2.
In the first overtime session, FGCU dominated play, attempting five shots – three of which were saved and another that was blocked – and taking three corners in just a one-minute span from minute 95 to minute 96, but came up empty. FAU then capitalized on its lone scoring chance of overtime as Ryan Price completed his hat trick by beating FGCU keeper Danny George (Safety Harbor, Fla./Countryside HS) as the sophomore had entered after Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) picked up a red card in the 56th minute.
Junior Santiago Echeverri (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration HS) scored his second goal of the season in the 61st minute to put the Eagles on the board before Henry Penagos (Margate, Fla./American Heritage School of Boca) tallied the equalizer just seven minutes later.
In keeping with the same theme that is now associated with all three of the Green and Blue’s games, FGCU fell behind in the opening 10 minutes, this time in just the 5th minute as Price beat starting keeper Ingham with a shot low and to the right.
The Eagles responded with three straight shots following the opening strike by Price, with Filipe DeSousa (Tampa, Fla./Wharton HS) forcing FAU goalie Theo Jamilloux to make his first of seven saves on the evening. From there, the two teams traded scoring efforts in a physical first half which saw 14 fouls called and three yellow cards issued.
The physicality continued to open the second half as more fouls (three) were whistled for than shots attempted (two) in the opening 10 minutes before FAU took advantage of another physical play in the 56th minute. Ingham tackled an FAU player in the box, was issued the red card and gave way to George. The sophomore was greeted with a penalty kick from Price, who deposited his second goal of the night and third of the year to give the Owls a 2-0 lead.
However, just as it did against FIU on Saturday night in its home opener, the Eagles quickly responded from a second-half deficit as Echeverri sent a shot from outside the box into the upper-right corner of the frame only five minutes after Price’s penalty shot. Only seven minutes after Echeverri’s unassisted tally, FGCU earned a penalty kick of its own, and Penagos deposited his first career penalty attempt to knot the game at 2-2.
Not even a minute after Penagos tied the contest, another yellow was handed out, and for the final 20 minutes of regulation the contest was played a majority of the time in the middle third of the pitch with neither side attempting a shot and FGCU dodging an FAU corner kick in the closing 20 seconds.
For the game, FGCU out-shot FAU, 19-8, including seven alone from DeSousa, who entered the contest tied for second in the nation in points per game at 2.5. Nine of those 19 attempts were on frame, compared with only five for FAU, and the Green and Blue also had more corners (8) than the Owls (5).
The Eagles return home on Saturday, Sept. 14, for a marquee showdown against Wisconsin – the No. 6 team in the Great Lakes Region – at 8 p.m. The FGCU volleyball team hosts the current No. 3 team in the nation, Penn State, earlier in the evening, and fans who purchase a ticket to either that game or the men’s soccer game will be granted admission to both events as part of FGCU’s Big Ten Faceoff promotion. Additionally, Dirty Birds members will receive a peel-and-stick gameface.
2013-14 men’s soccer season tickets are now available by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. Season tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for youth (ages 3-12). Single-game tickets can also be purchased for $6 per adult and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can receive a discounted rate of $3 per person. FGCU students and faculty/staff are admitted for free with a valid University ID.