Strong Second Half Sends FGCU Past Rhode Island, 4-0
|Florida Gulf Coast||0||4||4|
|FGCU||49:17||DiSTEFANO, Francesco (PORTILLO, Josey )|
|FGCU||67:08||PORTILLO, Josey (JONES, Deion )|
|FGCU||71:43||SILVA, Xavier (NAVAS, Andres , MORSE, William)|
|FGCU||86:22||HARRISON, Scott (MORSE, William , SILVA, Xavier)|
|Stats at a Glance||URI||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||6 (2)||20 (6)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast men’s soccer team shook off a sluggish first half and scored four goals over the final 45 minutes en route to a convincing 4-0 victory over visiting Rhode Island on a rainy Thursday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
Included in the four-goal second half were tallies from seniors Franceso DiStefano (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola HS), Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS), Scott Harrison (Cocoa, Fla./Merritt Island HS) and freshman Xavier Silva (Boca Raton, Fla./North Broward Prep). Both Portillo and Silva added assists to finish with three-point nights, while junior William Morse (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS) had two assists.
The shutout was the first of the season for the Eagles, who evened their mark at 1-1-2 on the year. Rhode Island is now 1-4.
“I was pleased with the second half effort this evening,” said head coach Bob Butehorn. “The first half was a little sluggish, but we made some adjustments at halftime and they came out with some more energy. There are still see some things we need to clean up a little bit, but we saw some improvement defensively. We have a few days off to prepare the USF Tournament which will give us a chance to fine-tune some things and I am really looking forward to it.”
The first half yielded very little on the offensive end for the either team, as both squads finished with four shots over the opening 45 minutes. Rhode Island put the only two shots on goal, but were both stopped senior keeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS).
DiStefano gave the Green and Blue a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute on a nice through-ball from Portillo. The ball split the middle of the URI defense and hit a streaking DiStefano in stride before he tucked a shot into the left side of the goal.
Just as it seemed momentum was on FGCU’s side, the game was delayed for 45 minutes due to lightning.
The break seemed to reenergize the Eagles, as they took a 2-0 lead just six minutes after returning from the delay. This time, it was Portillo doing the scoring off a nice cross from junior Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS). Jones drew a foul 35 yards from the goal to the right and hit a perfect free kick to Portillo who headed it into the back of the net at the 67:08 mark.
Seeing his first action since the opener, Silva wasted little time in making an impact on the game. Silva entered the game 72nd minute and picked up his first college goal at the 71:43 mark to give the Eagles a commanding 3-0 lead. Morse started the action to junior Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS) who crossed the ball from the right to the left side of the box to Silva for the goal.
Harrison added his 11th career goal to cap the scoring in the 87th minute. Morse, again, started the play, feeding a ball to Silva who left it for Harrison to blast into the back of the net. Harrison is second all-time in FGCU history in goals, trailing teammate Cristian Raudales’ (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS) 13 tallies.
For the game, FGCU held a 20-6 shot edge thanks to a 16-2 difference in the second half.
Glick’s two saves were his only two of the night, as he picked up his 27th career win and 17th shutout. He ranks fourth all-time in A-Sun history, just six away from Jeff Cassar of FIU (1992-95).
FGCU will have just over a week off from game action until it heads north for the USF Tournament. The Eagles will open the two-game tournament against No. 9 UC Irvine (4-0) on Friday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. FGCU will conclude the tournament against Saint Louis (3-3) on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m.
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