By Nicholas Poblete/Staff Writer
The FIU men’s soccer team’s undefeated season has led them to be ranked in the three most important polls in collegiate soccer.
The Panthers are ranked by United Soccer Coaches poll at No. 17, TopDrawerSoccer.com at No. 21 and College Soccer news at No. 30.
“We as a staff, and for the players, are pleased,” Head Coach Kevin Nylen said. “But we also remind the guys that we are only eight games into the season, it’s the first week in October, and there’s a lot of soccer to be played.”
The Panthers are one of four teams in Division I men’s soccer who have not lost a game. The Indiana Hoosiers, Maryland Terrapins and Columbia Lions are the other three schools who have not lost this season.
FIU have an impressive record of 5-0-3 this season, with a 2-0-1 Conference USA record.
The Panthers have scored the most goals in C-USA with 22 in eight games, an average of 2.75 per game. The men’s soccer team is fourth in the conference in goals conceded with nine goals scored on in eight games, with an average of 1.13 goals conceded per game.
“We want to continue to perform, and that starts at training every day. It’s one day at a time, one game at a time,” Coach Nylen said. “But I think from what we’ve done thus far the guys are really eager and hungry.”
Despite accumulating nationwide recognition, Coach Nylen says that his team does not feel pressure to perform.
“Pressure? No. These guys come out, they train every day. This is what they love to do, this is their passion and this is what they know,” Coach Nylen said. “We need to make sure that we stay focused every single day in terms of our preparation and what we’re doing, and hopefully you have the ability to perform and execute a game plan come game time.”
The Panthers’ leading goal scorer, junior forward Santiago Patiño, leads C-USA in goals scored. Patiño has scored in seven out of eight games for the Panthers. Patiño has scored a double on two occasions, against College of Charleston on Sept. 3 and Florida Atlantic on Sept. 30.
The junior forward is making an impact nationwide, leading in points-per-game with an average of 2.50, and second in goals-per-game with an average of 1.13. The impressive goal record Patiño has produced this season has allowed him to be named C-USA offensive player of the week three times this season.
Patiño said he was happy with the recognition he has received thus far, and hopes to continue down the same path.