Lobos Down #22 Seattle 4-2 in Opener
Published: August 25, 2018
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The University of New Mexico men's soccer team defeated No. 22 Seattle by a score of 4-2 in its season opener on Friday night at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobo offense was on fire as sophomore Matt Puig registered five points on a pair of goals and an assist in the win.
The Lobos (1-0-0) improve to 5-1-0 over the Redhawks (0-1-0) in the series history and continue their winning home tradition, improving to 20-3-7 at home since the 2015 season.
"I couldn't be prouder of our guys. The mark of Lobo soccer is that we don't lose at home and our philosophy is we want to schedule the best so this was a top-25 team and we handled it," head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "We're going to continue to get better and better because we have a lot of young guys playing.
These guys are focused, hungry and unified and they love playing for our fans."
The Lobos got out to a quick start and never let up as senior Antoine Vial, assisted by Puig, notched the first goal of the match after just 24 minutes of play. Puig dribbled up the right side of the field and passed to Vial, who one-touched the ball in the center of the box past Seattle keeper Josh Adachi. Redhawk captain Nathan Aune received a red card immediately after the goal and Seattle played a man down for the remainder of the match.
Just six minutes later, Puig struck again, this time after redshirt-junior Tom Smart and freshman Omar Grey played the ball in to the sophomore in the box. The trio combined to put the Lobos up 2-0 over the nationally-ranked squad.
The Redhawks cut the deficit to one with nine minutes left in the half when a header from the top of the box off of a corner kick put Seattle on the board. The goal marked the last of the opening period and the teams went into the locker rooms with UNM up 2-1.
It was Puig again that found the back of the net to put UNM up 3-1 just 5:33 into the second half. Puig took a long ball from sophomore Nick Taylor from midfield into the box, Puig picked up a rebound off a Redhawk defender and put it away for the two-goal advantage.
Seattle scored once more to make it 3-2 with 16:31 left on the clock after a rebound off the post was headed in from the right corner of the box.
Seattle native and Lobo rookie, Grey, eager for his chance against his hometown squad, posted his first goal as a Lobo in the 83rd minute to put the nail in the coffin and clinch the 4-2 victory.
The Lobos were outshot 16-12 on the night but UNM posted seven shots on goal to just four for Seattle. Puig led the Lobos with four shots, followed by Grey with three and Vial with two. Redshirt-junior Ford Parker spent all 90 minutes in goal, allowing two goals while posting a pair of saves.
The Lobos have just a couple of days of recovery before they take on another tough opponent, #24 Washington, on Monday night at 7 p.m. at the UNM Soccer Complex.