FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s soccer team took full advantage of a six-minute span where it had a man advantage on visiting UCF, scoring two goals, but allowed the tying goal in the 87th minute of regulation when the sides evened out and eventually led to a 2-2 tie over 110 minutes of intense action between the in-state rivals Saturday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
The draw is the first of the season for the Green and Blue, as they move to 3-3-1 heading into their non-conference finale on Tuesday night at No. 16 USF (5-2-1). UCF, who also earned a 2-2 draw against Atlantic Sun foe Jacksonville last Friday, sits at 2-2-2 on the year. FGCU entered tonight’s match No. 38 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Tournament 48 ranking, while the Knights are No. 33.
Trailing UCF 1-0 thanks to a goal in the 17th minute, FGCU went on the man advantage in the 50th minute when Romario Williams was whistled for his second yellow of the game. The Eagles quickly reaped the benefits, as freshman Felipe DeSousa (Vila Velha, Brazil/Wharton HS(FL)) tied the game at 1-1 just 91 seconds after Williams’ second yellow. DeSousa converted a rebound off a blocked shot from sophomore Santiago Echeverri (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration HS).
Just 2:07 passed by before FGCU took its first lead of the game when freshman Daniel Stanese (Pitt Meadows, British Columbia/Pitt Meadows Secondary) headed home his first collegiate goal on a well-executed play off a corner kick, completing a wild span of three minutes and 35 seconds in which the Eagles went from down 1-0 to ahead 2-1. Sophomore Frederico Crespo (Heredia, Costa Rica/St. Paul College/Universidad Latina) played the ball to Stanese, while senior Will Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) also added an assist on the play out of the corner kick.
FGCU’s momentum was short-lived though, as the sides were evened out 10v10 at the 56:19 mark when DeSousa was presented his second yellow card of the game after being called for a dive in the UCF goal box.
Sophomore keeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) was able to keep the Knights off the scoreboard on a couple of occasions in the second half, but junior Deshorn Brown changed that at the 87:25 mark with his fifth goal of the year. Brown provided the equalizer on a ball that was started on a free kick outside the right goal box and was directed from the middle to right post where Brown headed home the goal.
Neither team proved to be much of a threat in the 10 minutes of the first overtime, but FGCU put together four shots in the second extra frame. The Eagles’ best chance at the golden goal came with just over a minute left, but senior Deion Jones’ (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) free kick was deflected by a UCF defender before it found the middle of the goal box where a group of FGCU players were waiting.
The tie evens the all-time series between the two teams at 1-1-1, all of which have come over the last two seasons with the previous two meetings coming Orlando. FGCU got the best of then-No. 8 UCF, 2-1, in the regular season, while the Knights knocked the Green and Blue out of their first NCAA Tournament in double-overtime, 1-0.
DeSousa’s goal was his second of the season and moves him into second place on the team with five points. DeSousa trails Morse, who picked up his seventh point of the year with his assist on Stanese’s goal. FGCU is 3-0-1 this season in games Morse registers a point.
Live in-game updates off all the games can be found on twitter @FGCUMensSoccer, while live stats are available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com. Along with updates on the team’s official twitter page, fans can also get men’s soccer updates from around the Atlantic Sun and the nation by using the hashtag #ASUNMSOC or #D1MSOC.