Four hours and 43 minutes. That's how long it took for UCF to break the scoreless tie against FAU.
UCF men's soccer locks in on defense
The game was scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Friday night, but lightning delayed the start three hours. Then, neither team scored in the first 89 minutes of the match. In the final minute, as the clock wound down, UCF aggressively pushed the ball, and forward Romario Williams drew a foul in the penalty box against the FAU goalkeeper.
The keeper was handed a yellow card, and nine seconds were left on the clock as Williams stepped up to the ball to take the penalty kick. Williams went to the upper left corner of the goal, finding the back of the net and giving the soaking-wet UCF fans who had braved nearly five hours of rain something to cheer about, a 1-0 UCF win.
"With nine seconds on the clock, it's a pretty tough situation knowing that if you miss this then the game's going into overtime," Williams said. "But I've been in situations like that on numerous occasions, so I just wanted to hold my composure, and that's what I did and I was able to convert and lead my team to a victory."
Williams, along with the rest of the UCF team, got off to a sluggish start to the game after the long delay. But when he took his stance with the game on the line, sophomore midfielder Javier Clavijo had confidence that UCF's leading scorer from a season ago would convert.
"I knew that he was gonna score the goal, I had no doubt in my mind," Clavijo said.
On Williams part, he doesn't mind how long it took or what it looks like as long as at the end of the day his team gets a win.
"It wasn't the best performance, but we'll take it whatever way we can get it," Williams said. "It was ugly, but it's a win and we'll take it."
Before Friday, the Knights were off to a rocky start to the season. After outscoring their opponents a combined 10-0 in two preseason games, they traveled to Oregon to start the season. There, they played games against Portland and Oregon State.
In both games, they played a man down for a majority of the contest and lost both matches 1-0. Clavijo sees a win like this against an in-state opponent as something that the team can build on moving forward.
"It's definitely a very big turning point for our team," Clavijo said. "It really gets our moral up and our confidence level throughout he roof."
UCF head coach Bryan Cunningham agrees with Clavijo that, although the game wasn't always pretty, it's a step in the right direction for his team.
"I think it's just massive," Cunningham said. "I think for probably two years we've been on the wrong end of a game like that where we're playing an in-state opponent who's really fired up to play us."
After a 0-2 start in which they didn't score a goal, UCF is finally on the winning side of a contest. They have a week off before traveling to play Akron Sep. 12. Cunningham hopes that his team learns from this win and is better for it.
"In the end, we persevered and our hard work payed off with the penalty at the end," Cunningham said. "Hopefully we take that from this, that we can grind out wins, and that's what good teams do."
The next home match for the Knights will be against the College of Charleston on Sep. 14.