FORT MYERS, Fla. – The nation’s highest-scoring offense tallied the game-tying goal with 25 seconds remaining in regulation and then converted the game-winning goal with just 8 seconds left in the second overtime as #14 FIU (7-0-3) handed FGCU (6-4-1) a heartbreaking 4-3 loss Tuesday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
FGCU – which had its five-game winning streak and six-match unbeaten run snapped – looked poised to take down its second nationally-ranked opponent in a week as the Green and Blue opened up a 3-1 lead midway through the 2nd half after a Shak Adams goal.
However, the Panthers – who played the final five minutes of regulation and both 10-minute overtime sessions with 10 men – received the game-tying goal off the head of Marvin Hezel and the game-clinching strike off the foot of Alessandro Campoy against the run of play.
Miguel Jaime helped FGCU get off to a fast start by assisting on Nicolas Samayoa’s game-opening goal in the 5th minute, and then scored a goal of his own in the 13th minute to give the Eagles a quick 2-0 lead.
FIU trimmed that deficit in half in the 16th minute, and that was the scoreline entering the half before Adams (Antioch, Tenn./Cane Ridge HS) extended the margin back to two in the 2nd half. However, the Panthers – who remain one of just three unbeaten teams in the nation – had just enough left to score the game’s final three goals.
“In so many different ways we were in position to win this game at home against a nationally-ranked team, and we just couldn’t finish the job,” commented FGCU head coach Jesse Cormier. “I give FIU a lot of credit because they could have just rolled over, but they kept fighting. We need to learn from this and learn how to execute throughout the entire game in order for us to take this team and program to the next level.”
The high-powered affair featured two of the hottest teams in the country, and an explosive offensive performance is what resulted. The two sides combined for 40 shots, and 22 of those were on target as FIU keeper Hugo Fauroux made five saves in addition to a team stop, while FGCU netminder Connor Gavigan had nine saves – tied for the 2nd-most in a single game in program history (record: 13 by Adam Glick vs. Campbell on Sept. 27, 2007). The 22 shots by the Eagles are tied for the 8th-most in single-game program history.
The Eagles opened the scoring off a corner from Chris Clement and Jaime (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek HS). Clement (Mallorca, Spain/Lycee Francais de Palma) sent a cross into the box, but Fauroux couldn’t secure the ball, and Samayoa (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Colegio Valle Verde) one-timed a shot from close range under Fauroux for the defender’s first goal since the season opener.
The advantage quickly grew to 2-0 just eight minutes later. Just outside the top of the FIU box, Adams played a square ball to Jaime, who deftly shoveled a shot with the outside of his left foot inside the right post, catching Fauroux frozen off his line. It was the senior midfielder’s first goal of the season and fifth of his career.
Just as quickly as the Eagles doubled their lead, the Panthers trimmed it in half even faster as FIU converted its first goal of the night just three minutes later. Paul Marie received a pass from the nation’s leading scorer, Santiago Patino, and quickly turned and sent a low shot past Gavigan (Aurora, Colo./Creighton/Grandview HS), who had not allowed a goal in four-straight starts dating back to Sept. 15.
FGCU added what appeared to be the much-needed insurance strike in the 58th minute off a beautiful setup up the right side. Using his strong, lethal right foot, freshman Kareem Riley (Couva, Trinidad and Tobago/Presentation College) sent a long ball up the sideline to fellow first-year member Clement. The right back – who had pushed forward – headed a pass perfectly on to Adams, who was cutting near the top of the box. The speedy and shifty sophomore crossed over a pair of defenders, and with Fauroux coming off his line, chipped a right-footed shot from a tight angle into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the campaign.
The Panthers inched closer with a goal from Alvaro Alvarez in the 77th minute, which allowed for the final push by the Miami school in the closing minute. Inigo Sagarduy – who ended up assisting on each of FIU’s final three goals – played a long cross into the box perfectly for Hezel, who headed the ball into the upper 90 to force overtime.
After a relatively uneventful first overtime, FGCU nearly got the game-winner in the second OT, but Robert Ferrer (Barcelona, Spain/Brevard College/IES Calamot) had his shot clang off the crossbar in the 103rd minute. The Eagles attempted two more corners in the second overtime – finishing the match with a 10-1 edge in that category – and held a 4-2 shot advantage in the final 10 minutes, but it was FIU which was able to convert in the closing seconds despite being outplayed.
FGCU had a free kick with less than 30 seconds remaining on the FIU side, but the Panthers countered. Sagarduy fed a perfect pass into the box and on to the run of Campoy, who finished with his left foot just inside the left post and past a charging Gavigan.
The Eagles will look to bounce back when they return to ASUN Conference action on Saturday for a pivotal match at Stetson. The Hatters sit alone atop the league standings with 12 points at 4-0-0, while FGCU is alone in 2nd place with 9 points at 3-0-0. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from DeLand.
IRMA RELIEF DONATIONS
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, many individuals and families throughout Southwest Florida are still in desperate need of assistance. To aid in those relief efforts, FGCU Athletics will be collecting donations at all Eagle home games for the immediate future. Donation items most needed include: non-perishable food, clothing, household items and first-aid supplies. Additionally, those unable to attend upcoming home games can drop off donations in canisters located in the Alico Arena lobby. All donations will be given to those hardest hit in Lee and Collier counties.
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 120-93-48 (.551 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.