Knights settle for draw with in-state opponent
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 16, 2012 14:09
Coming off a tough West Coast road trip, the UCF men’s soccer team returned home for a Friday night match against the winless Jacksonville Dolphins (0-5-1). The Knights (2-2-1) had a disappointing outing, as the Dolphins doubled their goal total from last year’s match with a 2-2 double-overtime draw.
“We’re happy to get out of here with a tie, so not all hope is lost, but I’m really just extremely disappointed in the guys tonight,” head coach Bryan Cunningham said. “Our defensive effort was not good, giving up two goals, and then not finishing chances.”
The Knights were just minutes away from being handed their third loss in the past four games, but Deshorn Brown tied the match on a header from an Omar Vallejo free kick in the 83rd minute. The goal was Brown’s team-leading fourth of the season.
Goalkeeper Shawn Doyle played the entire 110-minute match for the Knights. It was the senior’s second start of the season, and his second in the past three games. Doyle made just one save in the match, as the Dolphins landed only three shots on net.
“I’m just not happy with our goalkeepers in general. They’re both inconsistent just like the whole group. At the end of the day we’re just trying to see who wants to be the starter of this group,” Cunningham said. “I couldn’t tell you who is going to be the starting goalkeeper next Saturday. They’ll fight for that position again, just like everybody on the field.”
The Knights have yet to post back-to-back wins this season and have not been able to win two out of three, either. Their 2-2-1 record is of some concern to Cunningham and team captain Andrew Quintana.
“We’re five games in, but everything is a learning process and a learning experience. This was a tie that we didn’t want. We didn’t want to concede any goals either. We wanted to strive for a shutout, but that’s how the game is,” Quintana said. “You can dominate a team all you want, but if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net or if the defense gives up goals — it’s the inconsistency, it’s something we’re going to have to keep working on [in] practice.”
The Knights broke the score open in the 57th minute, when Steven Lamberta hit the back of the net with a strike from about 20 feet beyond the box. The unassisted goal was Lamberta’s first of the season.
The Dolphins answered back five minutes later, when Nick Rodriguez scored his second goal of the season. Gavin Craig followed up Rodriguez’s strike with a goal in the 66th minute, his first of the season. Rodriguez and Craig account for all three of Jacksonville’s goals this season.
“It’s the tale of halves. We played Old Dominion two weeks ago, we had plenty of chances in that one, but we let them hang around,” Cunningham said. “Same thing happened here. You let a team hang around, and if you’re not clean and disciplined with the ball, you’re going to let up goals."
Next up for the Knights is a match at FGCU (3-3). The Eagles are coming off a 2-1 loss at Virginia Commonwealth University. FGCU snapped UCF’s unbeaten streak in the seventh game of last season with a 2-1 victory in Orlando. The Knights got their revenge later in the season when they defeated the Eagles 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA championships.
“I’m sure they’ve got us listed as a top game for them. So, we’ve got to go down there ready. It’s not going to be easy traveling again, but we have to grow up and be ready for that challenge,” Cunningham said.