David Drucker/ Staff Writer
The University’s men’s soccer team (7-3-0, 2-1-0 in Conference USA) was shutout by the University of Charlotte in a 1-0 defeat on Saturday, Oct. 3. The frustrating loss for the Panthers, in which they failed to score on 15 shots on goal, snapped their seven-game winning streak and perfect home record.
The Panthers’ first half play reflected that of earlier in the season – slow to start. Even though Head Coach Calabrese said there was “absolutely zero chance” that they underestimated the 49ers, the Panthers struggled to maintain possession and create chances early in the match.
“Charlotte in particular is very direct; they press you, they give you very little time in space and they’re excellent in their commitment to defend and their commitment to battle,” said Calabrese.
The 49ers scored the game’s only goal in the 26th minute when the FIU defense lost Kyle Parker on the wing. Parker then snuck into the middle of the defense, received the ball and fired a strike that reflected off of the crossbar and into the Panthers’ net to put Charlotte up 1-0.
In the second half, the Panthers wasted no time feeding the ball to junior, Jamar Campion-Hinds. The Charlotte defense, however, was prepared; when Campion-Hinds attempted to move the ball down the right line, three 49er defenders would meet him and neutralized the Panthers’ best chance to get a quality cross into the box.
Although Campion-Hinds’ typically tremendous second half impact was reduced, the Panthers still had plenty of chances to provide an equalizer – they outshot Charlotte 13-5 in the second half. Many of these shots simply found the foot of a Charlotte defender or rebounded off of the 49ers’ crossbar. FIU’s frustration became evident when they received three yellow cards in this half.
“The frustration came from that we like to be able to move the ball through the lines and play a certain style, and Charlotte does not permit you to play this style,” said Calabrese.
The Panthers will return to action on the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Saturday, Oct. 10.