SEATTLE, Wash. - The 20th-ranked UAB men's soccer team dropped its first game of the 2011 season, falling to Portland, 3-2, in the opening round of the Washington Husky Classic on Friday night. With the defeat, the Blazers drop to 5-1-2 on the campaign, while the Pilots improve to 4-2-1.
"We played like a young team who is far away from home," UAB head coach Mike Getmansaid. "I thought we looked sluggish from the start. We are a team that needs to play simple and quick or we'll get beat, and the better team won tonight."
Sophomore Chase Wickham led the Blazers with a pair of assists on the night, while UAB goals were scored by Babayele Sodade and Moses Adeniran. Portland was led by Ricardo Carillo who recorded a goal and an assist en route to the victory.
With their three goals on the night, the Pilots found the back of the net more times than any team UAB has faced all season. That was due in large part to the absence of reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week Mladen Lemez. The Blazers' central defender was forced to sit out of Friday night's contest due to an accumulation of yellow cards. He will be back in the lineup on Sunday against tournament host Washington.
"It certainly hurts not having all players but that's not why we lost the game," Getman said. "Having players out is part of soccer, whether it's a yellow card suspension or injury or whatever. We lost tonight because we didn't play well."
The Pilots wasted no time getting on the board, finding the back of the net in the ninth minute of play. Portland's Derek Boggs scored the goal after he received a corner from teammate Ryan Kawulok, collected the ball and deposited a shot into the top right part of the net for an early one-goal lead.
However, the Blazers would even it up at the 24:04 mark when Sodade scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season. Wickham set Sodade up with a cross that found the feet of the UAB senior forward, who then ripped a shot into the upper left corner, just out of the reach of the Portland goalkeeper.
But the Pilots would strike for their second tally of the half, this one coming just 12 minutes before intermission. Carrillo set the marker up when he sent a through ball to forward Michael Nielsen, who broke away from the Blazer defense, beat goalkeeper Carl Woszczynskiand scored into an empty net for the 2-1 lead.
Portland added an insurance goal in the 62nd minute when Carrillo beat the UAB defense and deposited a shot past Wosczcynski for a 3-1 advantage with less than 30 minutes left.
But the Blazers would not go down without a fight. Adeniran scored his first goal of the 2011 season, with Wickham recording his second assist of the contest at the 76:23 mark to cut the Pilots lead to 3-2. However, the Blazers did not have enough to complete the comeback.
The contest was a physical one as the teams combined for 36 fouls, 21 of which were called against Portland. The Pilots owned a slight 15-14 edge on shots, but had seven shots on frame compared to only two shots on goal by UAB.
The Blazers will next be in action on Sunday, when they take on tournament host Washington at 3:30 p.m. CT (1:30 p.m. PT).