Lobos Upended by No.13 Kentucky Penalty Kick
Published: September 16, 2017
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- After an offensively dominant first-half performance, the University of New Mexico men's soccer team dropped a heartbreaker to visiting No. 13 Kentucky by a score of 1-0 on a penalty kick with two seconds left in the first half. The loss snaps UNM's four-win streak and marks the second-straight season that the Lobos have lost their Conference USA opener to Kentucky.
Last season, UNM (4-3-0, 0-1-0 C-USA) opened the season very similar to 2017, suffering two losses to tough opponents followed by a five-win streak. Kentucky snapped the streak with a 1-0 victory on the road in Lexington. Saturday's loss also marks the end of the Lobos' 14-game unbeaten streak at the UNM Soccer Complex.
"It was a pretty unfortunate result," head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "I thought for the majority of the game we were really good. We connected passes, played in their half and our speed of play was good. We talked about Kentucky before the match and knew that this is a team you can't give openings to. All they need is one then they're going to defend - they're really happy defending. We made two mistakes near the goal and that's what happened."
During the first half, UNM outshot the Wildcats (5-1-1, 2-0-0 C-USA) 9-2 and posted five corner kicks to none for UK, however a Lobo handball in the box with two seconds left on the clock allowed Kentucky a penalty kick. Freshman Aime Mabika took the shot for Kentucky and found the back of the net, putting the Wildcats up 1-0 with the eventual gamewinner.
The Wildcats opened the second half with energy as UK senior Andrew McKelvey fired a pair of close shots within two minutes. After a Kentucky corner, the teams batted the ball in front of the goal before McKelvey chipped it over the crossbar at the 55th minute. Just two minutes later, he attempted a header that also sailed just over the crossbar to keep it 1-0 Wildcats.
Lobo junior Simon Spangenberg responded with a close shot of his own just a minute later when he fired from the top of the box toward the lower left corner. His attempt just barely missed the post.
In the 63rd minute the Lobos continued looking for the equalizer as redshirt-sophomore Devin Boyce posted UNM's second shot on goal of the night with a header, but a save by UK's Enrique Facusse kept the Lobos scoreless with 27 minutes to play.
In the 72nd minute, senior Sam Gleadle, who led the Lobos with two shots on goal, nearly tied up the score when he picked up a short pass just to the outside of the right post. His close-range shot was saved by Facusse, however to keep Kentucky in the lead.
Gleadle looked to strike again when, with five minutes left, he flew up the left side and was one-on-one with the keeper, but he was called offside and the ball was again turned over.
The Lobos fought it out until the end but could not find the net to even the score.
Overall, the Lobos outshot Kentucky 15-7 including a 6-5 advantage in the second half. UNM also led in corner kicks 8-2 and finished up 5-2 in shots on goal. UK's Facusse earns the win and improves to 5-1-1 on the season, collecting five saves on the night, while UNM's Jason Beaulieu registered just one save and is 4-3-0 on the season.
The Lobos will face their next three contests on the road at South Carolina, Marshall and Loyola Marymount before returning home on Saturday, October 7 against Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m.