19th Ranked FIU Men’s Soccer Topples 12th Ranked VCU

David Garcia celebrating following his winning goal. Photo by FIU Athletics

Liam Rooney / Staff Writer

FIU men’s soccer opened up their home campaign with a statement 1-0 victory over the 12th ranked Virginia Commonwealth Rams on Saturday, September 4. 

This was the first ever meeting with the Rams. VCU entered the matchup with a record of one win and one draw. The Panthers are now winners of three straight games, with two wins coming against ranked opponents. 

With a 3-0 record, FIU is tied with the Florida Atlantic Owls for the best overall record in Conference USA. 

An impressive start to the season, the Panthers are playing lights out on the defensive side of the ball, not conceding a single goal through three games. 

A combined score of 6-0 over the first three games, FIU is living up to the billing as one of the nations premier teams and could jump into the top 15 after the victory over the Rams.

In front of a nearly sold out stadium, the Panthers were on the front foot as soon as the first whistle blew. Establishing a balance in the middle of the park, the midfield was able to dictate the flow of the game in the first half. 

With control of much of the ball, FIU fired off seven shots, but the game remained deadlocked heading into the break. 

After a tense and scoreless first half, the Panthers wasted no time showing their intent to score in the second half. In the first 15 minutes, FIU rifled off five shots, forcing VCU’s defense into some uncomfortable positions and forced their keeper to make saves. 

In the 61st minute, midfielder Stephen Afrifa almost opened the scoring when his strike hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced out of the goal. Seemingly unable to capitalize on a multitude of chances, the breakthrough finally came for the Panthers in the 72nd minute. 

FIU midfielder Mauro Bravo delivered a dangerous corner kick that found fellow midfielder Matthias Lavenant at the back post. Lavenant sent the ball back across the middle of the box and defender David Garcia stabbed the ball into the net, sending the Panthers 1-0 up with his second goal of the season. 

Just under a minute after the goal was scored, the game was sent into a lighting delay that lasted 40 minutes. FIU kept their cool after the delay and controlled the remainder of the game. Forward Rasmus Tobinski nearly added a second goal, but his thunderous strike hit the crossbar. 

Barley allowing the Rams to get a touch of the ball, the Panthers dominated possession en route to their third win of the season. Only allowing VCU seven shots in the game, FIU’s defense shutdown the opposition yet again and claimed their third clean sheet of the season. 

Next on the agenda for the Panthers is a road matchup with the North Florida Osprey on Tuesday, September 7th at 7pm. Following that, the men’s team returns home for a first time match with UT Rio Grande Valley on Sunday, September 12th at 7pm.

About the Author

Richard Gibson
Former Sports Director of PantherNOW