Sept. 1, 2009
Box Score (PDF)
TAMPA, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Freshman Jeffrey Simmons (Monroeville, Pa.) scored his first career goal in the second half, but visiting UCF (0-1-0) was unable to overcome a halftime deficit in its season opener Tuesday evening, falling 2-1 at No. 11 USF (1-0-0) in men's non-conference soccer action in Tampa.
"It was a tough game in that we played extremely well in every facet of the game except for the final score," said third-year head coach Bryan Cunningham. "We went down 2-0 early in the first half there, but we came back in the second half and played extremely well. We were able to get one goal back and unfortunately in sequence had a couple of men sent off and still almost equalized the game playing two men down towards the end of the game."
Trailing 2-0 coming out of halftime, the Knights controlled the possession of the ball throughout the final 45 minutes. For the game, UCF held a 9-3 edge in corner kicks and a 9-7 advantage in shots on goal against the highly-ranked Bulls.
After going a man down with 16 minutes remaining in the second half, UCF did not back down, earning a free kick just across midfield. Junior Yaron Bacher (Atlanta, Ga.) sent a free kick from 40 yards out into the box. A pair of freshmen took it from the there as Nicholas Keown-Robson (Auckland, New Zealand) headed it to Simmons, who headed it past the keeper into the back of the net.
UCF battled the rest of the way trying to post the equalizer, but the USF defense used its advantage in numbers to hold off the Knights.
During an opening 20 minutes played primarily in the midfield, the Knights fired the first two shots on goal. The first was off the foot off junior Camilo Rendon (Miami, Fla.) in the first minute and the second from junior Bacher in the sixth minute, but both attempts were stopped by USF keeper Jeff Antinella.
UCF trailed at the half 2-0 despite holding a 7-6 edge in shots and a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. Junior transfer Gianni Piccoletti (Bariloche, Argentina) came off the bench to register two of the shots on goal in the first half and finished with six shot attempts in his first UCF game.
The Bulls found the back of the net first in the 24th minute. Fernando Gonzalez was able to head it in close off a Javed Mohammad corner kick to the far post. Zak Boggs tallied USF's second goal in the 31st minute after finding himself one-on-one with UCF keeper Shawn Doyle (Ft. Myers, Fla.). Doyle made five saves in his UCF debut in goal.
"All of the players stepped up and played really well in the second half, and even in the first half," Cunningham said. "At halftime we are looking at the stat sheet and we are ahead 5-2 shots on goal and also up 5-2 on corner kicks, but we are down still and that is tough to swallow. We came out really strong in the second half and put them under a lot of pressure, but we were unable to get that second goal."
UCF will host North Florida on Friday, September 4, in its home opener. The second game of the UCF Fall Classic is slated to kick off at 8:30 p.m., following Iona and Georgia Southern at 6 p.m. All of the Knights home games this season are free to all in attendance.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.
2009 UCF Men's Soccer Game Summary
UCF (0-1-0) vs. USF (1-0-0)
Date: Sep 01, 2009 Attendance: 1184
Weather: Overcast and humid
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
UCF........................ 0 1 - 1
USF........................ 2 0 - 2
1. 23:53 USF GONZALEZ, Fernando (1) (MOHAMMED, Javed)
2. 30:24 USF Boggs, Zak (1) (SINCLAIR, Hasani;THURIERE, Sebastian)
3. 75:28 UCF SIMMONS, Jeff (1) (Bacher, Yaron;ROBSON, Nik)
Shots: UCF 15, USF 15
Saves: UCF 5 (Doyle, Shawn 5), USF 8 (ATTINELLA, Jeff 8)
Corner Kicks: UCF 9, USF 3
Offsides: UCF 0, USF 1