Jaymz Cosme | Staff Writer
The FIU Men’s Soccer team is set to host the FAU Owls for the American Athletic Conference tournament on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
Entering the tournament as the three seed, the Panthers finished their regular season with a 9-3-4 record. They also finished ranked No. 22 in the NCAA DI Men’s Soccer Top 25 rankings.
Their ranking dropped substantially after reaching a 2-2 draw in their final regular season game against the Tulsa Hurricanes on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
In that match, FIU struggled to find consistent offense and was held scoreless in the first period.
Graduate student forward Mike Eijgendaal scored the only goal for either team in the first half and gave Tulsa a 1-0 lead.
Despite taking nine shots in the first half, none of them found the back of the net for the Panthers.
Senior goalkeeper Cedrik Stern shut down the offense and recorded seven saves in the first half alone.
To start the second half, FIU looked to score quickly and tie the game. Junior forward Bernardo Dos Santos Monteiro took a shot and scored near the 50-minute mark.
Tying the game at 1-1 within the first five minutes of the half, they looked to continue building their newfound momentum.
Capitalizing on the opportunity, senior forward Fumiya Shiraishi scored and took the lead near the 60-minute marker.
Claiming a 2-1 lead, the Panthers needed to hold out defensively in order to win the game.
Coming through for the Hurricanes, senior midfielder Sergio Baena was able to score on a penalty kick near 77-minutes.
Once again tying the score, reaching 2-2, neither team was able to pull away with the game.
On the night, FIU fired off 21 shots and 13 were on goal, with junior forward Eduardo Mustre leading the team in shots on goal, taking four.
Dropping from rank No. 9 to No. 22 following the tie, they look to prove themselves in the playoffs against FAU.
The Owls enter the AAC tournament as the six seed after finishing their regular season with a 5-7-3 record.
Last meeting only 15 days prior, FAU emerged victorious and claimed a 2-1 win. Nt as successful in their most recent game, they took a 2-0 loss to the USF Bulls on Nov. 1.
Statistically, they haven’t had the same success as FIU on either end of the pitch. This season they’ve 12 less goals and have allowed 11 more goals than the Panthers have.
Throughout the 18 matchups between the two teams, FIU has won 14 and has historically dominated the series.
If they wish to continue their conference championship hopes, they must execute offensively and get great scoring chances. They will also have to play a disciplined game to not give their opponent any easy goals.
Looking to defend their 2022 AAC title, the FIU men’s soccer team will be hosting the FAU Owls on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the FIU Soccer Stadium and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
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