ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico men’s soccer team was upended by visiting Florida International on Saturday as the Panthers used three second half goals to work past the Lobos at the UNM Soccer Complex.
“I thought we closed out the first half really well with two goals and had a good grip on the game,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “We talked at halftime that the first 10 minutes (of the second half) were crucial. That was going to be their opportunity to get momentum back and we had to be solid and play in their half, but you aren’t going to win games when you give up goals in those key moments.”
The Panthers (4-5-0, 3-0-0 C-USA) got on the board first in the game converting a penalty kick opportunity in the 16th minute of the match. The PK was put home by Santiago Patino for his seventh goal of the season. Not long after that initial salvo, however, the Lobos (3-7-0, 1-2-0 C-USA) evened the score in the 18th minute.
On the equalizing goal, Tom Smart sent a through pass to the attacking Simon Spangenberg. As the play was developing, FIU’s keeper came out and Spangenberg worked around him and a defender to leave the senior Belgium native with an open goal opportunity. The goal was Spangenberg’s second the season and the assist was Smart’s sixth.
In the 29th minute, UNM grabbed a one-goal lead off a corner kick opportunity. On that set piece, Nick Taylor took the corner and sent a cross into the box where the first touch in traffic was off the foot of Billy Jones. Matt Puig, then registered his fourth goal of the season as he put the ball in the back of the net.
The Lobos would take that 2-1 lead into the half, but FIU was able to knot the score and eventually score the game-winning goal under 10 minutes into the second half.
The equalizing goal for the Panthers occurred in the 46th minute of the game as Andrew Booth headed one in off of a corner kick by FIU. In the 50th minute, FIU’s Talla Faye scored the eventual game-winning goal as he took advantage of a deflection off an initial save by UNM goal keeper Ford Parker.
UNM tested FIU down the stretch in trying to even the score putting three shots on goal, but all were saved by Daniel Gagliardi. The Panthers then were able to register an insurance goal in the 86th minute to bring the match to its final of 4-2.
The Lobos will once more remain at home and step out of conference play as they are set to host Loyola Marymount this coming Tuesday, October 2 at the UNM Soccer Complex. First-touch is set for 7 p.m.