Men’s Soccer Ends Regular Season With A Loss

Alex Rivera/Contributing Writer

After last week’s loss against South Carolina, FIU looked to come home to clinch the regular-season championship with a win against Marshall. Ultimately the Panthers watched as their regular season came to an end, and the team that led the conference standings finished the season third in points. 

This matchup was set up to be a game with everything: the winner would win the C-USA regular-season championship, it was the Panthers’ senior night and their last home game of the season. Both teams seemed to be at each other’s level, statistics showing similar figures for both sides.

At the first blow of the whistle, FIU came out strong. It was clear that they wanted to score early and rely on their defense. That soon changed, however, Marshall started making offensive runs toward goal, but the Panthers would be able to catch the forwards and get the ball out of the box. 

At 17 minutes Jamil Roberts scored the first goal for Marshall, but within the next two minutes, Andoni Garrogerricaechebarria, with an assist from Andrew Booth, scored an equalizer. In the 25th minute, Jamil Roberts would score his second goal of the game. Three goals happening within three minutes of each other, and that was it for the game.

In the second half, the mentality for FIU was simple, score two goals, defend, and win a championship. The team has shown that they can score, they can build plays and get in the box. The problem was that Marshall was not playing to defend. They wanted to score more. 

FIU took shots, and got close to scoring and was playing to score. The defense and midfield became preoccupied and it led to Milo Yosef of Marshall to make a shot from near midfield, which hit the post. The keeper, Daniel Gagliardi, being caught far from the goal nearly allowed Marshall a third goal. 

With 11 minutes remaining, each second that the Panthers did not have possession of the ball was time that could have been used to make a run at goal. Those 11 minutes were played out by their entirety by FIU, the Panthers just needed a goal to send the game into overtime, maybe win it there. Marshall had other plans. Marshall started flopping, and with 40 seconds left,  a Marshall defender was on the ground, only to stand up when his teammate advised him that the clock had stopped. 

In the end, it was too little too late from FIU. They demonstrated throughout the game they had the ability to score, to build runs and move the ball. What couldn’t be done: score. Rookie mistakes plagued the Panthers when they would move the ball in the midfield. 

From this, FIU finished third in the C-USA standings. They head to Norfolk, Virginia for the postseason C-USA tournament, and will now have to manage without a first-round bye. Their next game will be a rematch against South Carolina.

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