TAMPA, Fla. (Men’s Soccer) – The rematch between No. 23 Florida Tech and Tampa resembled the first game the teams played on Sept. 12. That game ended in a 1-1 draw. On Saturday, the Spartans scored a late goal in the 85th minute to steal a 2-1 victory at home over the Panthers.
“It was a tough and physical battle like we expected,” head coach Robin Chan said. “Tampa is always a challenging place to play, and we struggled to get things going in the open field.”
The game saw two own goals in the first half of play. Tampa (7-3-1, 4-2-0 SSC) benefited off the first one in the 35th minute. The Spartans sent in a cross from eight yards out that deflected in off an FIT (5-2-3, 2-2-2 SSC) defender to give Tampa a 1-0 lead.
With 35 seconds remaining in the first half, the Panthers received a free kick. Gary Ogilvie took the kick and sent the ball into the box. This time the ball was knocked in by a Spartan defender to tie the game at 1-1.
In the second half, Tampa took control firing 13 of its 20 shots.
The game was halted in the 53rd minute for a period 45 minutes due to lightning.
The Panthers went a man down in the 71st minute, when Ogilvie was issued his second yellow card of the match.
The game’s only clean goal came in the 85th minute. Tampa’s Brian Fekete dribbled up the left side and scored left side to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead late in the game. The Spartans held on in the final five minutes to earn the win.
“We don’t have time to dwell on this loss,” Chan said. “We have to learn from tonight’s match and get ready for a big regional match on Tuesday.”
FIT will return home on Tuesday, Oct. 9 when it plays host to No. 14 Palm Beach Atlantic in a non-conference match. The Panthers and Sailfish will kick off at 3 p.m.