Hadji Barry’s two-goal performance and Jakov Basic’s game winner lifted the UCF men’s soccer team to a 3-2 victory over Lynn University on Sunday night at the UCF Soccer and Track Stadium.
“They worked really hard,” head coach Bryan Cunningham said. “Considering we’re just coming off a game a few days ago, I thought we came out tonight and controlled the tempo. Giving up a goal before the half, that’s sloppy. We had opportunities in the second half, and they’re a good team. But credit to the players. We got that third goal and closed the game.”
Barry, who has tallied three goals in two preseason games, got on the scoreboard early in the first half after heading in a service from Basic past the Lynn goalkeeper. The Knights doubled the lead when Matias Pyysalo found Barry to strike from close range before Basic scored to give UCF the eventual game winner after squandering a two-goal lead.
Lynn sparked a comeback before the halftime whistle, scoring on a counter before leveling the game early in the second half. The Fighting Knights’ momentum would eventually slow down after Basic’s goal gave the Knights the lead again. They dominated possession to hold on to the lead.
“We’re a better team of what we shown,” said UCF captain Mason Miller. “A little sloppy, turned over the ball several times, but at the end of the day, we came out with a win. Sometimes you don’t play your best, but you grind out a victory. It’s always great to open the season on a good note, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Bryan Cunningham’s men cap the preseason undefeated, but their true test awaits when they open up the regular season on Friday, welcoming Florida Atlantic to the UCF Soccer and Track Stadium at 7 p.m.
Mike Gramajo is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.