By Nicholas Poblete/Staff Writer
FIU men’s soccer team draw 2-2 to Conference USA rival Charlotte 49ers during Saturday’s home thriller.
An electrifying start to the match saw freshman midfielder, Matias Barraza, open up the score for the Panthers with just 43 seconds on the clock. In his third start of the season, Barraza’s strike from 18 yards beat the 49ers’ goalkeeper and entered through the top right corner.
“You don’t play out that you’re going to score in the first 40 seconds of the game, and I mean it was a phenomenal finish,” Head Coach Kevin Nylen said. “We talked about it a little after the game. Early goals can go one of two ways, but a great strike and finish by Matias [Barraza].”
Barraza’s strike against the 49ers was his first goal as a Panther.
After an early goal conceded, the 49ers composed themselves and tied up the game through a corner kick in the 23rd minute. Junior captain, Callum Montgomery, headed the ball in to beat FIU junior goalkeeper, Hugo Fauroux.
Both teams headed into halftime with a goal a piece.
The 49ers scored their second of the night in the 55th minute, goal scored by junior redshirt forward, Daniel Bruce, who had come off the bench to start the second half.
The Panthers reacted quickly and found the equalizer just two minutes after going down. Junior forward Santiago Patiño cut inside the box and beamed the ball past the 49ers goalkeeper. This was the sixth goal of the season for Patiño.
“I’m really happy that I am getting the goals. Im working hard, and that’s showing in the games,” Patiño said. “I just have to stay confident, keep working hard and stay humble, and then more goals will come.”
The game remained 2-2 despite an attempt to find a winner in double over time.
After Saturday’s draw the Panthers remain the only undefeated team in Conference USA with a 3-0-3 overall record, and a 1-0-1 conference record. The Panthers are third place in the C-USA table, behind Kentucky (2-0) and Old Dominion (2-0).
“Charlotte is a very good team, physical and very good in terms of how they pin you, and so it was constant battle. I think a draw is fair. They had chances, we had chances,” Coach Nylen said.
The Panthers registered 11 shots, two of which were on target, three corner kicks, four offsides and 21 fouls. Four Panthers were shown yellow cards.
“Proud of the guys to able to respond after going down 2-1, and then to see out a game,” Coach Nylen said. “Now it’s a quick turn around and focused on UNF now.”
The Panthers will host the University of North Florida on Tuesday at 7 p.m.