Alejandro Solana//Staff Writer
The Panthers (3-5-1) concluded their three game road trip on Friday, Sept. 30 with a 4-1 loss to the New Mexico Lobos, making it their third straight loss of the season. The three straight losses come during FIU’s toughest stretch of their schedule where they faced four teams that are ranked or receiving votes for the top 25.
The road gauntlet began after the Panthers defeated the No. 21 ranked Kentucky Wildcats at home in what was a “tremendous test before going on the road,” according to head coach Scott Calabrese.
The first game of the road trip saw the Panthers traveling to Winston-Salem, NC to take on No. 14 Wake Forest. The Panthers lost to the Demon Deacons last season and the result this year was no different. The ACC team came into the game with a (5-1-1) record and scored two unanswered goals on the Panthers.
Four days after their loss in Winston-Salem, the 49ers of Charlotte hosted the Panthers after defeating them last season in Miami 1-0. Once again, FIU failed to avenge their loss last season losing 2-1 to the #5 49ers in the second Conference-USA game of the season.
The loss was a tough defeat for FIU, who tied the game off an amazing goal from Senior forward, Luis Betancur, in the 89th minute of the match. Unfortunately, the 49ers’ Brandt Bronico scored in overtime handing FIU its fourth loss of the season.
Freshman-midfielder, Joris Ahlinvi, scored his first goal of the season in New Mexico on Friday, but it was already too late considering the Panthers were down four goals. The 4-1 loss to the Lobos makes it the first time the Panthers lose three straight games since 2014.
In the three-game losing stretch, FIU conceded eight goals and only scored two. Eight goals is the most goals the Panthers have allowed in a three-game-stretch, also since 2014.
Despite conceding eight goals, there is no doubt the FIU team still believes in their goalkeeper, Arthur Clapot, who previously was a hero after saving a penalty kick to secure win over Kentucky.
“He’s incredible and definitely one of the best, if not the best keeper I’ve ever played with in my life,” senior defenseman Juan Benedetty said.
The Panthers returned home for a game against in-state rival Florida Gulf Coast, which they lost 4-1, the same final score during the game against New Mexico. The team will play South Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. The team lost to South Carolina last season 2-0.