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No. 13 USF Defeats No. 25 FGCU, 2-0, in Front of Record Crowd
|Florida Gulf Coast||0||0||0|
|Stats at a Glance||USFM||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||10 (3)||10 (4)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – No. 13 USF used a late first half penalty kick to derail a strong opening 40 minutes from the No. 25 FGCU men’s soccer team and eventually earn a 2-0 win on Tuesday night in front of a program record crowd of 1,556 at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
The loss snaps FGCU’s three-game win streak and drops its season mark to 4-3-2. The Eagles are now 3-3 all-time against ranked opponents, as the game was the first in FGCU athletics history to feature a pair of ranked teams.
USF improves to 6-2-2 overall and now has four wins over ranked opponents this season.
“It’s tough to give up two goals and expect to win against a team of that caliber,” said head coach Bob Butehorn. “Give USF credit. They managed the game well and finished their chances. We’ll get refocused for Friday’s home game against Mercer and be ready to get back into Atlantic Sun action.”
The pace of play through most of the first half belonged to the Eagles, but it was USF that got on the board first in the 42nd minute. A foul inside the top right edge of the goal box by FGCU resulted in a penalty kick for the Bulls. Leston Paul lined up for the penalty kick and made good on the effort, tucking a shot into the right corner for his third goal of the season.
FGCU came out firing following the ensuing kick-off and nearly produced the equalizer off the left foot of senior Francesco DiStefano (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola HS) with just over a minute to play. A deflected pass found a streaking DiStefano who drilled a shot to the upper 90, but a diving save by USF keeper Chris Blais pushed the ball off the upper right cross bar.
USF fought off the late surge by the Eagles and held on to the 1-0 lead at the break. The Eagles held a 7-3 edge in shots, including three on goal, over the opening 45 minutes, but the Bulls capitalized on their lone shot on net.
Still trailing 1-0, an FGCU defensive miscue led to the ball bouncing off the last defender and to the BIG EAST’s leading goal scorer. USF junior Dom Dwyer used one touch to the left and then fired a shot to the right corner of the net to give the Bulls the 2-0 lead at the 62:38 mark. It was Dwyer’s BIG EAST-leading eighth goal and 16th point.
FGCU had a chance to climb to within one in the 75th minute as a nice drop pass found sophomore Ryan Price (Melbourne Beach, Fla./Melbourne HS) inside the box, but his effort sailed wide and left.
The game ended with both teams owning 10 shots and a 5-4 edge in corners to USF. FGCU senior keeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) made one save on the evening, while Bulls’ goalie Chris Blais made four stops.
FGCU will be back in action on Friday night for its Atlantic Sun home opener against Mercer. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. The Eagles have won 10 straight A-Sun contests and have an 11-game home unbeaten streak (10-0-1) in conference play that dates back to the 2008 campaign.