BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Redshirt freshman Karl Chester recorded a goal and an assist to help stage a dramatic comeback, as the No. 29 UAB men's soccer team settled for a 2-2 draw against Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night at West Campus Field.
"We were playing against a very good team," UAB head coach Mike Getman said. "The first half didn't go the way we wanted, but you have to give FDU a lot of credit. I thought our guys gave everything they had tonight and I couldn't be more pleased with the effort."
The contest was the second game of the 2012 UAB "Soccer For A Cure" Classic, as No. 20 Washington defeated Memphis, 1-0, in overtime in the first match of the day.
Things didn't look good late in the contest for the Blazers. Trailing 2-0 with just under 12 minutes remaining and playing a man short due to a second yellow card issued to junior Norris Howze in the 72nd minute, UAB really kicked things into a higher gear.
Senior forward Kofi Gyawu began the comeback when scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season at the 78:10 mark to cut the lead to 2-1. Chester earned his first-career point as he set up the goal up with a shot on a 2-on-1 breakaway, which was saved by FDU keeper Jacob Lissek. Gyawu then collected the rebound and one-timed a shot into the open net.
That goal seemed to re-energize the team and the crowd. Just over eight minutes later, at the 86:19 mark, Chester sent the West Campus Field crowd into a frenzy with the equalizer. The Kathleen, Ga. native scored his first career goal when he took a rebound off a missed clearance by Lissek and drilled a left-footed shot into the near post to even things at two apiece.
UAB would have a couple more chances in the two overtimes, outshooting FDU, 5-2, in the extra periods. But the Blazers couldn't finish and had to settle for their second tie of the season.
UAB outshot the Knights, 17-4, after intermission and 23-10 for the contest.
"I thought our guys found the game in the second half and really put it together," Getman said. "We out shot them by a wide margin after intermission and you can't create many more chances than that. I thought we really controlled the game even though we were playing a man short, so I was very pleased with how we played after halftime."
The Knights got off to a great start with a goal just over eight minutes into the contest. The tally came off a corner kick by FDU's Anders Vest-Hansen that found the head of teammate Nico Wright, who drilled the header into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Fairleigh Dickinson's goal was the first allowed by the Blazers' defense in the opening 45 minutes this season.
The Blazers were playing more spirited to start the second half; however, the Knights would extend their lead off a counter-attack at the 58:33 mark to take what looked to be an insurmountable two-goal lead.
The FDU goal was set up by Wright, who sent a low dangerous cross into the goal area. The ball was then flicked on by Godfred Baafi, just over the outstretched arms of Raphael Ville and into the back of the net.
But the goal didn't deter the Blazers, as UAB continued to push until it had the result.
The final day of the "Soccer For A Cure" Classic will take place on Sunday at West Campus Field. The day will begin at 11:30 a.m. when Memphis takes on Fairleigh Dickinson. The Blazers and Husky's will end the tournament with a battle between ranked teams, which is set to kick off at 2 p.m.