UCF Drops Season Opener at Portland, 1-0

August 29, 2014

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PORTLAND, Ore. - UCF had numerous opportunities in the second half during the season opener on Friday night, but Portland, who scored the lone marker in the 37th minute, held off the Knights to notch the 1-0 victory.

The crowd of 2,062 loyal Pilots' supporters at Merlo Field was energized just before halftime following a corner served up by Erik Edwardson. Michael Escobear kept the opportunity alive in the six-yard box before a header by Geoffrey Dunn found the top left corner of the net at 36:06.

"We started out really well and moved the ball around in dangerous areas," head coach Bryan Cunningham said. "It was unfortunate that we did not get an early goal. Then, we settled into the wrong tempo. Portland slowed the game down to its speed and stole a goal right before halftime. Despite controlling play during the second half, we could not muster a goal."

UCF (0-1) tallied four of its game-high 10 corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of the contest. The squad recorded six shots on net, but the Portland (1-0) goalkeeper, Paul Christensen, was up to the task each time. Senior Sebastian Evers made four saves for UCF.

Junior forward Romario Williams paced UCF with six shots, but sat out the final 24 minutes with a red card and will be forced to miss Sunday's contest at Oregon State. Even down a man, the Knights still generated chances.

On a free kick at 72:45, Dawkins took a shot just outside the 18-yard box that curved around the wall f defenders and was saved by the keeper, who dove to the right. It was one of the Royal Palm Beach, Fla., native's two shots on goal.

"All in all, some guys did step up especially our back four," said Cunningham. "I thought David Raizes really played well and provided a spark at times. Walker Dawkins stepped into a little bit of an attacking midfield role in the second half and did really well."

In the final three minutes, freshman Matheus Mera provided junior Hadji Barry with a one-touch pass inside the six-yard box, but the shot from Mera was stopped by the keeper.

The Knights continue the Nike Portland Invitational on Sunday with 3 p.m. ET kick at Oregon State. The contest is set to be broadcasted on the PAC-12 Network.

UCF presented by Napleton's Volkswagen returns to the UCF Soccer Complex on Friday for a battle with Florida Atlantic at 5 p.m. Fans can watch the first three home games of the season for free on CBS College Sports Live.

Season tickets, which includes a general admission seat to all regular season home matches and a special soccer scarf, are now on-sale for $30. Youth (age 2-17) season tickets can be purchased for $15. For more information on how to purchase tickets click here or call 407-UCF-1000.   

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