Men's Soccer Falls in American Athletic Conference Opener



Sept. 21, 2013

Final Stats

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By Doug Richards

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ORLANDO, Fla. ( - The men's soccer team made history Saturday as the first UCF program to compete in an American Athletic Conference league contest, but the Knights were unable to register a win, falling 3-0 to No. 11 Louisville at the UCF Soccer Complex.

Louisville (4-2-0, 1-0-0 The American) took advantage of UCF's (2-3-0, 0-1-0) miscues, as all three of the Cardinals' goals came as the result of mistakes from the home team.

The Cardinals struck early, getting a goal from Jimmy Ockford in the second minute when his header was sent into the goal off the foot of a UCF defender. Eleven minutes later, Ricardo Velazco beat UCF keeper Zach Biggs on a penalty kick.

"It is extremely disappointing. It is a tough enough opponent and when you go down a goal in the first two minutes, it is hard to come back from that," UCF head coach Bryan Cunningham said. "I thought we responded well. We dominated possession, but we just didn't capitalize on chances. In the end, we gifted them the third goal, and it was just too hard to come back from."

A year ago, Louisville went 14-6-1 and advanced to the Elite Eight for the second-straight season. UCF was playing its third match of the week.

UCF had two great scoring looks in the first half, but could not finish either attempt. In the 42nd minute, Matthew Gaskins found a streaking Romario Williams, who beat two defenders and then blasted a shot attempt from 10 yards out. His strike hit the post. Earlier, a Dener Dos Santos free kick resulted in a header from Fernando Laverde, but his try hit the cross bar.

The Cardinals added a goal in the 59th minute when Marlon Harrison scored after a UCF defender mishandled a clearance.

Louisville finished with a 13-9 shot advantage. Williams attempted three shots, and Laverde also had a pair of shots.

The physical match featured 27 total fouls and five yellow cards.

The Knights' next three matches are all on the road. UCF will return to action on Tuesday at Charlotte. The squad's next home contest is set for Oct. 9 against Memphis.