FIU still perfect after latest road victories

Albrecht has scored six goals so far this season. (Jonathan Segal/ The Beacon)

Photo by Jonathan Segal

Francisco Rivero/ Contributing Writer

FIU defeated Wisconsin and University of Illinois Chicago to roll to their fifth consecutive win. The last time FIU men’s soccer got off to a 5-0 start was 25 years ago, the first year the team joined Division I soccer.

FIU 3, Wisconsin 1

The Panthers traveled to Wisconsin (1-2-2) and defeated the Badgers 3-1.  FIU’s strong defense was on display once again by holding the high-scoring Badgers,  who have seven goals on the year, to just one goal.

“Wisconsin is probably the best team we played this year, being that this was our first big road game. I thought that are guys where a little held back,” Arena said. “But as the game went on, you quickly saw guys become more confident and start to show the ability we have.”

The scoring began in the 35th minute when junior midfielder Gonzalo Frechilla scored on a shot that beat the Wisconsin goalie Chase Rau to the upper right corner of the net. For Frechilla, it was his first goal of the season.

However, Wisconsin would answer right back in the 43rd minute when the Badgers defender AJ Cochran scored on a header off a corner kick. FIU went into the half with the score of 1-1. Arena then told his group that they just needed to remember to focus on the little things.

“We just needed to stay on track, we have a lot of games to go and we got to get back to doing all the little things the right way.”

After gathering themselves together at the half, the Panthers didn’t take long to regain the lead. In the 69th minute, sophomore forward Quentin Albrecht netted his team leading fifth goal of the year. Albrecht was able to score with a nicely placed kick 12 yards out through a group of defenders.

Finally, in the 78th minute, the highly praised freshman midfielder, Daniel Gonzalez, scored on a right corner goal. The importance of getting Gonzalez and Albrecht scoring together is one that Arena is well aware about.

“We want all our guys in attacking roles to be dangerous. For us it doesn’t matter who scores as long as our attacking guys are dangerous on a daily basis,” Arena said.

As for the Panthers defense, they once again held their opponent’s to single-digit shot on goal attempts with the Badgers only able to get off nine. Freshman goal keeper Robin Spiegel played a solid game, allowing one goal while racking up three saves of his own.

FIU 2, UIC 1

FIU (5-0) then traveled to Illinois to take on UIC (1-4) to wrap up their weekend series. However, the Panthers would soon learn that UIC would prove to be quite the advisory.

FIU would go on to defeat the Flames by the score of 2-1, in the first overtime game of the season. For Arena, battling into overtime was the key.

“We started off a little slow in the first half but the second half and into overtime we created a lot of chances and we defended better than we did in the first half,” said Arena. “It was our fourth road game in a row and this one involved flying, so I was so proud to see my guys battle through fatigue and perform better as the game went on.”

The game’s first goal came in the 31st minute off the foot of UIC’s forward Ned Pavlovic. Pavlovic’s goal would be the only goal of the first half even though FIU was able to get four shots on goal with all four shots coming from the Panthers leader in goals Albrecht.

During the second half, the Panthers wear soon able to tie up the game when sophomore forward Colby Burdette scored in the 57th minute. Burdette’s goal was created with the help of freshman defender Lyle Lindquist and Gonzalez.

However, even though FIU was able to get off seven more shots on goal, only Burdette’s goal was able to slip by UIC’s goal keeper Piotr Kikolski who ended the game with two saves.

Entering overtime, the Panthers four-game winning streak was hanging in the balance until Burdette struck again. With less than four minutes left in overtime, Burdette kicked in his second goal of the game and lifted the Panthers to their first overtime win. For Arena, Burdette’s performance doesn’t come as a shock.

“I feel that Colby [Burdette] would tell you himself that he feels that he should have more goals at this point in the season.” Arena said. “I just felt that it was just a matter of time before he put the goal in the back of the net.”

FIU will now look to continue their winning ways in Fort Myers, Fla. against Furman University (4-2-1) on Sept. 14 at 5 p.m.

About the Author

Francisco Rivero
: FIU Student Media Sports Director, Co-Host of Panther Sports Talk Live, Sports and Opinion writer, Communications major.

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