Nov. 9, 2013
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Jennifer Clark
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Abdi Yusuf’s first goal of the season couldn't have come at a better time, as he slotted a shot in the 7th minute of sudden death overtime at UCF Soccer Complex on Saturday to give UCF a 2-1 victory over Memphis and advance to the semifinal of the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship.
“Hats off to Memphis, they’re a great team," said head coach Bryan Cunningham. "We always have epic battles, one-goal games. They’re a tough team. They’ve got tremendous players and staff. They had a great game plan today, just somehow, we found the net twice and we were able to get out of here. To take these guys to Dallas was a goal of ours in the preseason and its come to fruition. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
The Knights celebrated more than just their epic-battle victory. UCF extended its unbeaten streak to nine matches, tying the program record set in 2010.
“It’s a very hard thing to do,” Cunningham said of the Knights’ unbeaten streak. “Half of those games are on the road and half are here at home. We’re fortunate we have a couple of players who were on that squad from the 2010 season, and they’re really pulling us together right now and it’s so helpful.”
For a brief minute, Memphis appeared to have the victory sealed after junior Fakhry Khulfan knocked a shot to the back side net in the 73rd minute to edge the Tigers 1-0.
The Knights weren’t ready to quit, however, and rallied a little over four minutes later when sophomore Romario Williams one-timed a header from Mason Miller in the 77th minute to knot the match at 1-1.
“My mind was just filled with emotion,” Williams said of his game-equalizer. “I was excited because we went down 1-0, and if we didn’t come back into it that was the end of our season. I wanted to do it for the three seniors. I just got the opportunity and put it away.”
With either team unable to convert a shot in the final minutes of regulation, the must-win headed into overtime. UCF and Memphis would trade passes until Knights' midfielder Yusuf brought the ball down the right side, where the freshman slotted the solo score to seal the Knights’ victory.
UCF will travel to Dallas, Texas, where the Knights will face either No. 7 SMU or No. 2 UConn in the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal on Nov. 15 at 8:30 p.m. CT. The winner will advance to the championship game on Sun., Nov. 17 at 2:00 p.m., where both teams will be vying for a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
NOTES: Romario Williams' game-tying goal marked his tenth goal of the season. The sophomore also recorded two shots on goal in the Knights' victory. Mason Miller picked up his second straight assist with his helper in the 77th minute. Knights' goalkeeper Sebastian Evers registered three saves against Memphis, while Tigers' keeper Cody Uzcategui recorded one.