Men’s Soccer: Owls Fall to UCF 5-0 in Season Opener

Knights score four in second half, Owls held scoreless.


Ryan Murphy

Senior defender Patrick Darby slide tackles an opposing player during the Owls matchup with Stetson last season. Photo by Ryan Murphy

Zakaria Sadik, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic men’s soccer opened its season tonight in Orlando with a 5-0 loss to the University of Central Florida. The Knights led wire-to-wire in the game, never giving up their initial lead.

Originally scheduled for 7 p.m., the game was delayed due to rain and eventually commenced at 7:45 p.m.

The first goal of the night was scored by Knights’ defender Neico Regent in the 11th minute. It came following a UCF free kick that deflected off players from both teams before being struck into the bottom corner by Regent.

Owls Junior defender David Adejunmobi received a yellow card in the 42nd minute after a foul, the only card issued in the game.

In the second half, the Knights scored again when midfielder Matias Pyysalo took advantage of an error committed by the Owls’ back line.

After a clearance by UCF midfielder Walker Dawkins, an FAU defender mistakenly headed the ball over junior goalkeeper Phillip Hitpass, where Pyysalo caught up to it and scored from the right side of goal, mqking it 2-0 in the 54th minute.

It didn’t take long for Pyysalo to get on the board for the second time, collecting a setup pass from forward Gorka Aperribay before shot-faking a defender out of the way and scoring, making it 3-0 in the 62nd minute.

Forward Hadji Barry got into the scoring action late in the second half, when he dribbled through two FAU defenders before shooting toward goal. Hitpass made contact with the shot but couldn’t keep it out of the net, giving the Knights a 4-0 lead in the 70th minute.

The final goal came in reverse order of the third. This time Pyysalo assisted Aperribay, who chipped the ball past the keeper for an easy goal in the 74th minute, giving UCF a 5-0 lead.

Hitpass had nine saves on the evening, while Knights goalie Zack Biggs had 2 saves and earned the clean sheet.

UCF controlled the tempo most of the game, taking the vast majority of shots — there was a large disparity between the teams in the first half (10 to two). The final shot totals were 20 for the Knights compared to FAU’s seven.

Pyysalo led the Knights with his two goals, along with two assists. Aperribay also played a large role in UCF’s victory, adding in a goal and an assist.
The Owls open at home versus Jacksonville University on Sept. 3.

Zakaria Sadik is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.