Down goes No. 4 Marshall! FAU men’s soccer stun Thundering Herd 3-1 in the semifinals, move on to championship game

This marks the Owls’ first appearance in the championship game since 2007.


FAU men’s soccer celebrate as the team clinches their spot in the C-USA Championship game after beating Marshall 3-1 on Nov. 12, 2021. Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Richard Pereira, Sports Editor

Since 2007, FAU men’s soccer (9-6-3, 2-4-2 C-USA) has never advanced to the championship game of a conference tournament. That all changed when they beat defending NCAA Champions Marshall (11-3-3, 5-1-2 C-USA) 3-1 in the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament on Friday night.

FAU got on the scoreboard first in the 19th minute. Freshman midfielder Davide Romeo and junior midfielder Jose Alastuey linked up to get junior defender Tom Abrahmsson the ball, who placed a brilliant strike into the right side of the net.

The Owls’ gameplan after the goal was to park the bus, meaning they had more players defending to limit the spacing that Marshall had available to them as it disrupted the Herd’s offensive rhythm.

FAU earned another goal in the 76th minute to extend its lead to two. On the counterattack, senior midfielder Blake Dean crossed the ball into Marshall’s penalty box as senior forward Ivan Mykhailenko received it and slotted it home for his eighth goal this season. 

The Herd refused to go away, however, as they got a goal back in the 79th minute. Senior midfielder Vinicius Fernandes curved a well-timed shot past FAU’s senior goalkeeper Neil Strauber into the bottom-right corner of the net.

FAU, determined to secure its lead, got the dagger it needed a minute after the Herd’s goal. Sophomore midfielder Celestin Theodore Jr. made excellent dribble moves, penetrated Marshall’s box, and struck the ball for his first goal of the season.

It was an incredible performance for the Owls, who beat Marshall for the first time since 2019, as they advanced to the final of the C-USA Tournament.

The Owls now take on Kentucky, ranked 15th in the nation, in a rematch of the quarterfinal back in 2019, where the Wildcats shut out the Owls 2-0. Kickoff is scheduled on Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. and it will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Richard Pereira is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.