Lynchburg, Va. - Newcomers Tresor Mbuyu and Martin Agredo each netted goals, helping to lead the Liberty Flames past the Howard Bison, 2-0, Friday night in the 2016 season opener for both teams at Osborne Stadium.
Sophomore midfielder Mbuyu opened the scoring during the 18th minute of play, while senior forward Agredo scored his first goal as a Flame in the 57th minute.
Another new face, goalkeeper James Knoebel, recorded his first shutout in a Liberty uniform, making three saves in the match.
For the fourth straight season, the Flames win their season opener, moving to 1-0. Howard falls to 0-1. Since renewing the series in 2008, Liberty has posted a 9-0 record against the Bison.
Controlling play throughout most of the contest, the Flames took advantage of back-to-back corner kicks to take a 1-0 lead during the 18th minute. On the second of the two kicks, a clearing attempt was picked up by midfielder Pepe Segarra near the left sideline. The transfer inserted the ball into the 18-yard box, where freshman Rigoberto Rojas headed the ball down towards the right post for Mbuyu. The midfielder took the ball in stride, tucking a shot into the near corner of the net at 17:41 to give the Flames the lead.
In the closing minutes the half, freshman Chase Hovious jumped on a loose ball on the left sideline and ripped a shot toward the left corner, forcing a save by Bison goalkeeper Kenneth Hersey.
Liberty struck for its second goal of the evening early in the second. Agredo forced a turnover by a Howard defender near the right corner of the box. The forward dropped a pass to sophomore midfielder Kevin Mendoza, who returned the ball in stride to Agredo. After two steps, the Cali, Columbia native ripped a shot into the lower far left corner for what proved to be the final score of 2-0 at 56:42.
Trailing by two, Howard sent an extra man forward looking to get on the scoreboard during the reminder of the half, but could not find net. Two of Knoebel’s three saves came during the final 35 minutes.
Liberty held a 12-10 advantage on shots. Corners kicks were even at 6-6.
Like Knoebel, Hersey recorded three saves in the Bison net.
Liberty next takes the short trip over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Lexington, Va., for a non-conference match with the VMI Keydets, Tuesday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. at VMI’s Patchin Field.