Golden Panthers blanked by Memphis in road loss

Photo by Jonathan Segal

Photo by Jonathan Segal

By: Luis D. Gutierrez / Contributing Writer

After a landmark win against No. 21 Kentucky, the Golden Panthers were hoping to build on that success on the road this past weekend in Tenn. Conference foe Memphis had other plans.

The FIU men’s soccer team was shutout by the Tigers with a 3-0 score in a disappointing loss on Oct. 8 at Mike Rose Stadium.

The Tigers got on the scoreboard early with a goal from Chandler Gagnon in the 16th minute.  They showed no signs of letting up as Wil Linder followed up with a goal in the 37th minute and notched his second one of the game late in the 84th minute.

“It’s a game that we should have won,” said head coach Munga Eketebi. “It was a letdown performance.”

Colby Burdette and Robert De Souza each had two shots on goal for the Panthers, while Quentin Albrecht had one shot on goal.

Rodney Greiling, who got his second consecutive start on net, fell to 1-1 by recording three saves but allowing three goals.  With the loss, the Panthers fell to 4-5-2 overall and 1-2-0 in conference play.

The conference slate did not get any easier for the team as they faced Central Florida at home on Oct. 11, ranked number six nationally, and they play Southern Methodist University on Oct. 16 and Tulsa on Oct. 19, both on the road.

Forward Mackulay Tulloch has already notched 27 points this season and is considered by many to be the best player in the country.  Eketebi said that the key for the Golden Panthers is to focus on limiting errors on the field that can hurt FIU.

“We have to avoid costly mistakes,” said Eketebi, indicating that it will depend on which Panther team shows up in future games: the one who stunned nationally ranked Kentucky or the one who was shutout by Memphis.

A week after defeating Kentucky in an overtime thriller, there is no doubt FIU experienced a setback with this loss.

However, Eketebi says the young core of players will only continue to progress as the season goes on. Burdette has played and will continue to play consistently throughout the season according to Eketebi, while De Souza was given 56 minutes off the bench in Memphis. Greiling was recognized by Conference-USA as the defensive player of the week as a product of the 1-0 shutout victory over Kentucky.

FIU’s lack of experience will cause occasional speed bumps down the road, similar to the shutout to Memphis, but Eketebi is confident his team will avoid those setbacks as time goes on.

“Every game, every year, they’re going to get better,” said Eketebi about his freshmen.

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