By Nicholas Poblete/Staff Writer
FIU men’s soccer team defeated Conference USA rival Old Dominion 3-1 in their final home game of the regular season on Wednesday night.
Coming into the game, the United Soccer Coaches poll ranked the Panthers No.8 in the nation. FIU managed to crack the Top-10 thanks to its undefeated record of 10-0-3, with a C-USA record of 5-0-1.
The Panthers went into the match in first place of the C-USA standings, with 16 points, while Old Dominion trailed in second with 15 points. The Monarchs’ record was 8-3-2, and a perfect C-USA record of 5-0.
The first half ended scoreless. During the first 45 minutes, FIU took six shots, while ODU had four.
At the start of the second half, a tactical substitution saw freshman midfielder Matias Barraza substituted for sophomore midfielder Alessandro Campoy. This substitution would have a profound effect on the match.
In the 54th minute, junior forward Santiago Patiño opened up the scoreline for the Panthers. Patiño was assisted by Campoy. After a four-game goal drought, C-USA leading goal scorer Patiño found the back of the net to score his 13th goal of the season.
Patiño contributed once again in the 65th minute, scoring his second of the night. The junior forward was able to collect a loose ball in the box, after senior captain midfielder Paul Marie’s shot was blocked by the Monarchs’ goalie. Patiño registered his 14th goal of the season.
“With time you learn that you just have to stay confident, and keep working hard, and chances will come,” Patiño said. “I believe in myself. Before the game I put it in my head that I’m going to score.”
11 minutes later, and in the midst of a dominating spell from the Monarchs, sophomore midfielder Sebastien Hauret, scored off a free kick.
Just as the Monarchs threatened to tie the game, Campoy took advantage of another rebound left by the ODU goalie to score in the final seconds of the match. Campoy scored his seventh goal of the season.
“My thought process is always to do the most that I can to help the team out and get the win,” Campoy said. “Its been a long journey, everyone has put their shift, put their work, so to get a W on the last home game really feels good.”
After the victory, the Panthers now have a record of 11-0-3 and a C-USA record of 6-0-1. The No.8 ranked Panthers are enjoying an eight-game winning streak.
“This game tonight was a massive game for both teams,” Head Coach Kevin Nylen said. “In the first half they made it difficult on us, and even did it in the second half, but we were able to put a couple chances away, and goals change games.”
The Panther will face the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky on Sunday at 7 p.m. in their final regular season match.