BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UAB senior forward Babayele Sodade scored on a penalty kick at the 89:32 mark to lead UAB to a dramatic 1-0 victory Memphis in Conference USA action Wednesday night. The victory marked the Blazers’ third-straight shutout and four consecutive win to improve to 9-3-2 overall and 3-1 in Conference USA play.
“A soccer game is 90 minutes long, not 89-and-a-half minutes long and you play every second until that horn sounds,” UAB head coach Mike Getman said. “I thought our guys did a good job tonight of hanging in there and we were able to find a way to win.”
The contest was played in front of 1,235 fans at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., which will be the host site for the 2011 NCAA Men’s Soccer College Cup on Dec. 9 & 11. Wednesday night’s match marked the first-ever soccer match played at the venue.
“Both team were a little nervous at the start,” Getman said. “The field is in beautiful condition and it’s a big stadium. The crowd was noisy and you could see the jitters. But as the game went on, it got a little physical and from that point on everyone settled in. Honestly, that’s the best Memphis team I have seen in 20 years. Our guys played well also and in the end found a way to win.
“This felt like a championship game and it was in a lot of ways because we were playing on a championship field in the stadium that will crown a national champion soccer team. But it’s also two of the best teams in the league and two of the top 30 teams in the country and both teams played as hard as they could.”
The lone goal of the contest came when Sodade converted his third penalty kick of the season. The penalty was set up when sophomore Chase Wickham beat a defender and was taken down in the 18-yard box by Memphis’ J.J. Greer to set up the penalty kick. Sodade calmly deposited the ball into the right side of the net for his team-leading ninth goal of the season. The Windsor, Ontario native continues to lead the Blazers with 22 points (9g-4a) on the season
The first-ever soccer match played at Regions Park was a back-and-forth battle and looked as if it was heading to overtime, when Wickham received a long pass and was able to draw a foul inside the Memphis penalty box.
The Tigers (8-4-1, 2-3) entered the contest having won three-straight games by a combined score of 11-0. Both Memphis and UAB were receiving votes to be ranked nationally.
UAB’s senior net minder Carl Woszcynski tallied his third shutout in as many games, and fourth of the season, saving the two shots that came his way.
The Blazers will next begin a two-game road swing when they travel to Huntington, W. Va., to take on the Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT).