FORT MYERS, Fla. – With its home opener pushed back nearly a week due to Hurricane Irma, the FGCU men’s soccer team (1-3-1) started fast with two 1st-half goals, but visiting Loyola Marymount (1-4-2) converted a pair of its own goals in the 2nd half as the teams played to a 2-2 double-overtime tie Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
Dylan Sacramento opened the scoring for the Eagles in the 25th minute, and Shak Adams made it 2-0 in the 41st minute. However, LMU struck early in the 2nd half with a 47th-minute goal to trim the deficit in half, and tied things up in the 83rd minute for FGCU’s first 2-2 home draw since last season’s home opener against Michigan.
“We started pretty slowly and then came into the 1st half as the two goals certainly made a big difference,” commented FGCU head coach Jesse Cormier. “We didn’t come out with the right attitude in the 2nd half and we let them back into the game. Mentally, we conceited a lot of chances in space, and LMU was able to grind us down and show us that we need to be mentally tougher and compete for longer stretches.
“I was proud of our overtime effort; we gutted it out,” added Cormier, whose team is still severely short-handed because of injuries. “But they taught us a lesson tonight about how to be more resilient, and hopefully we can learn from it.”
As the final scoreline indicates, the match was fairly equal throughout as LMU finished with an 18-15 shot advantage. The Lions had an 8-5 corner edge, and the Eagles made six saves – including a team stop – compared with LMU’s five.
The Eagles had the better of the play to open the match, putting a pair of shots on frame in the first five minutes before really settling in. The Green and Blue kept the pressure up, and in the 20th minute nearly converted the opening goal after a brilliant set up by Miguel Jaime (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek HS), but Robert Ferrer (Barcelona, Spain/Brevard College/IES Calamot) had his volley rattle off the crossbar.
FGCU opened the scoring shortly after by turning defense to offense quickly, starting with a great throw up the right flank by goalkeeper Connor Gavigan. He found Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS) perfectly sprinting up the sideline, who played a ball into the middle of the pitch to Jaime. The senior midfielder wasted little time in sending a pass back out to the right and on to Sacramento (Winnipeg, Manitoba/York University/Bill Crothers S.S.), who did not miss for his first goal of the year.
The Eagles added a second goal in the closing minutes of the 1st half when Arion Sobers-Assue (Miami, Fla./DeMatha Catholic HS) sent a great thru ball up the middle and behind the LMU backline. Adams used his blistering speed to catch up to the pass, and one-timed an effort from near the top of the 18 for his first goal of the campaign and a 2-0 FGCU lead.
FGCU took that two-goal advantage into the halftime break, but LMU quickly cut it in half in the beginning stages of the 2nd half. Following an FGCU foul, LMU’s Sarkis Shaginian played a curving cross into the box about 8 yards out, and Rodrigo San Roman headed it inside the right post to trim the Lions’ deficit to just one.
After a large chunk of play in the middle of the pitch over the next 30 minutes LMU converted the equalizer in the 83rd minute as Francis Avoce had his shot from a close angle just barely trickle over the goal line and inside the left post to knot the contest at 2-2.
In the closing minutes of regulation, the Lions applied a lot of pressure, but Gavigan (Aurora, Colo./Creighton/Grandview HS) – who made five saves – and the FGCU backline were equal to the task, sending the game to extra time.
In overtime, FGCU again stood strong despite the aforementioned shortened lineup, and nearly had the game-winning strike in the final minute of the 2nd overtime. Off a corner by Miguel Perez (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay HS), defender Nicolas Samayoa (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Colegio Valle Verde) – who scored a similar goal in the season opener at Denver – had his header just miss the far post.
FGCU was playing for the first time in nearly two weeks as the Eagles last took to the pitch on Sept. 3. The Green and Blue were scheduled to have their home opener contested on Sunday, Sept. 10, but due to Irma that match against VCU was canceled.
As has been the case all year so far, FGCU was again without several key players, including ASUN Preseason Player of the Year Albert Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/ CE L’Hospitalet/UE Cornella) and ASUN Preseason All-Conference Team member Kamar Marriott (Tampa, Fla./Heritage HS) because of injuries.
FGCU continues its three-game homestand against UCF. The match was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 20, but has been moved to Tuesday, Sept. 19. The contest will still be played at the FGCU Soccer Complex, and will begin at the originally-scheduled time of 7 p.m.
Fans who have already purchased tickets to the game and are now unable to attend because of the date change will be allowed to redeem their ticket(s) for another home men’s soccer game of their choosing this season, or will receive a refund.
For up-to-the minute information and a behind-the-scenes look at the FGCU men’s soccer program, follow on Twitter @FGCU_MSoccer, Instagram @FGCU_MSoccer, Facebook /FGCUMSoccer and YouTube /FGCUAthletics.
HEAD COACH JESSE CORMIER
Jesse Cormier was hired in January 2017 to become just the 2nd head coach in program history. The head coach at Vermont for the previous 13 seasons, Cormier won 14 games with the Catamounts in 2016 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round. During his time with Vermont, Cormier guided the program to the America East Tournament in 12 of 13 seasons, making five title game appearances, winning two tournament crowns, claiming a regular-season championship and advancing to three NCAA tournaments, including a pair of Second Round appearances. Cormier has a 115-93-47 (.543 winning percentage) overall record as a head coach.
SUPPORT THE CAUSE
FGCU Athletics sponsors events throughout the year to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.