Will Duval | Sports Director
The FIU men’s soccer team narrowly escaped defeat, ending their match in a 2-2 tie against the UCF Knights on Tuesday, Sep. 5, 2023, in Orlando Florida.
Coming into this match, the Panthers held a 2-0-1 record following a 0-0 tie with the Central Arkansas Bears on Friday, Sep. 1, 2023.
With neither team scoring in the match, FIU looked to return to form in their matchup with UCF.
Beginning their season with a 3-0 record, the Knights were coming off a 3-1 victory against the NC State Wolfpack. In a true team performance, UCF had a goal from three different players, showing their depth of talent.
In their previous meeting on Oct. 9, 2022, the Panthers took a 3-1 loss to the Knights in a defensive battle. Ultimately, FIU couldn’t hold on, allowing UCF to score at the 77-minute mark, putting the game out of reach.
To begin the game, the Knights showcased their prowess on both offense and defense. Sophomore goalkeeper Juanvi Muñoz blocked a shot from the Panthers at the three-minute mark, leaving the game at 0-0.
After playing stout defense, UCF was ready to run on offense, as senior forward Lucca Dourado scored their first goal of the game at the 15-minute mark.
Claiming an early 1-0 lead, the Knights scored the only point that either team would see in the first period. With both teams playing hard-nosed defense, offense was hard to come by for both teams.
Opening up the second half, FIU was attempting to jump start their offense, taking three shots in the first 15 minutes of the half. None of them could find the back of the net, mostly due to Muñoz’s defensive presence.
Both teams continued to apply pressure on each other’s offense, with the Panthers being the first to let up near the 82-minute mark.
Following a foul from FIU, senior midfielder Beto Ydrach scored for UCF, giving them a 2-0 lead with less than ten minutes remaining in the game.
Knowing how little time remained, the Panthers needed to respond quickly if they didn’t want to lose.
Only 16-seconds after the Knights’ goal, graduate student defender Kasper Skraep provided a clutch score for FIU and made it a 2-1 score.
Putting pressure on UCF, the Panthers still needed to score again in order to salvage the match.
Near the 85-minute mark, graduate student midfielder Francesco Renzi gave FIU exactly what they needed, securing the game-tying goal off of a blocked shot.
After tying the game at 2-2, neither team could pull away despite the Panthers’ late-game efforts.
With such a brilliant comeback, FIU can leave this match with their heads held high, as they showed their determination and skills when all seemed lost. Still technically undefeated, the Panthers’ record is now 2-0-2 this season.
Heading into their next match, the FIU men’s soccer team is coming home to face the New Hampshire Wildcats on Friday, Sep. 8, 2023 at the FIU Soccer Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
Follow Will Duval on X: @willduval40