War on I-4 Heartbreaker

TAMPA, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF junior Gorka Aperribay and senior Matias Pyysalo scored go-ahead goals on Saturday night, but each time USF found the equalizer. The Bulls took the first War on I-4 Rivalry Series matchup of the season in 2OT, 3-2, following a game-winning strike by Alex Zis in the 107th minute at Corbett Stadium.

After Pyysalo put UCF (1-4-1, 0-1-0) on top the 72nd minute, USF (4-3-0, 1-0-0) evened the game, 2-2, nine minutes later with a curling strike from 28-yards out by Ricardo Gomez.

UCF held a majority of the possession in the first overtime, but was unable to break the deadlock. The Knights fired two shots from distance in the second overtime that were sent high before USF scored the game-winner.


  • Off a counter attack in the ninth minute, Pyysalo created a turnover at midfield, then found a streaking Aperribay on the left wing.
  • Aperribay received the ball and made a couple moves to elude a defender and finessed a shot inside the far post to put UCF up early.
  • It was the first goal of the season for the Winter Springs, Fla., native.


  • The Knights fed off the Aperribay goal and controlled the next five minutes of the match, but were unable to extend the advantage.
  • Off a corner kick a minute after the marker, Aperribay had another opportunity from in tight that was stopped.
  • Another corner almost turned into a 2-0 lead as junior Andreas Steineger had a header from inside the six-yard box that was saved by the USF keeper Christian Knight in the 13th minute.
  • Then seconds later, freshman Hattabiou Barry's strike was stopped.


  • The Finnish Finnisher, Pyysalo, made his mark on the game in the 72nd minute on a fantastic inidividual effort.
  • He took an advancing header from junior Cal Jennings and shielded the ball past two defenders and got the keeper off his line.
  • The Helsinki, Finland, native calmly found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the campaign.


  • A game-high four shots were fired by Pyysalo, while a trio of shots were attempted by Aperribay.
  • Two shots each were registered by freshman Yoni Sorokin and junior Max Stiegwardt.
  • Freshman Jack McCloskey earned his first start along the back line.
  • A total of six saves were made by freshman Yannik Oettl, who made a couple diving stops including one in the 79th minute that kept the Knights in the lead, 2-1.
  • The Knights held a 7-6 edge in corners, but USF made a corner count in the 32nd minute to tie the match, 1-1.
  • USF held an 18-14 edge in shots.
  • This is the second-consecutive match that USF has defeated the Knights in 2OT with the last coming in the semifinals of the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship.


  • UCF continues its conference slate on Friday with an 8:30 p.m. ET meeting at SMU.
  • After playing seven matches away from home, the home opener for the Knights is set for Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. against Stetson.

The UCF men's soccer team is in its first campaign under the guidance of head coach Scott Calabrese and will welcome seven teams to the UCF Soccer Complex. Click here or call (407) 823-1000 for ticket information.

Membership to Knights Watch, the official supporters group of UCF Soccer, begins at $15 for students and $50 for fans. Packages include tickets to all home contests for men's and women's soccer, a Knights Watch T-Shirt, a soccer scarf and a variety of free catered tailgates. To become a member, click here.

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