Battle with the Bearcats

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Despite a tough start to the season, UCF can accomplish one of its goals under first-year head coach Scott Calabrese at Cincinnati on Saturday by earning a berth into The American Championship on Nov. 10-12.
A victory by the Knights, who are on a six-match unbeaten streak, clinches a spot in the top four of the league standings, while a tie could be enough with some help from their conference foes.
The match at Gettler Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, is set to start at 7 p.m. Fans can follow the contest with video and live stats.

  • The Knights (6-5-2) are on a six-match unbeaten streak after earning victories against FAU (3-0), No. 22 UConn (3-2), Tulsa (3-0), Florida Atlantic (3-0) and Temple (1-0) and notching a 1-1 (2OT) draw vs. Memphis.
  • With a victory against the Bearcat, UCF will finish in the top four of the conference standings and advance to The American Championship on Nov. 10-12 at the site of the regular season champion.
  • For the third week in a row, UCF earned The American Offensive Player of the Week as Matias Pyysalo received his second honor after scoring the game-winning goal vs. Temple and adding a marker vs. FAU.
  • Andreas Steineger also was recognized as the league's defensive player of the week after helping UCF post consecutive shutouts.
  • Sophomore Matthew Rosenberg notched his third shutout of the season and the fifth of his career by making two saves vs. Temple.
  • Pyysalo ranks among the nation's leaders in points (4th/2.08), goals (6th/0.85) and assists (63rd/0.38) per game.
  • The second five-point match of the year for Cal Jennings, the reigning American Offensive Player of the week, helped UCF post a 3-2 win at No. 22 UConn.
  • UCF used three second-half goals, including two by Matias Pyysalo to power past Tulsa, 3-0, on Oct. 15.
  • UCF was the 204th out of 205 schools that play men's soccer to appear in a home match. UCF won its home opener, 4-0, vs. Stetson on Oct. 4 after opening the campaign with seven matches on the road.
  • Junior Jonathan Dean was named The American Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11 after helping the back line to consecutive road shutouts at WVU and Jacksonville.


  • Cincinnati (7-8-1) has recorded non-conference wins against Gardner-Web (3-1), IUPUI (2-1), Kentucky (1-0), Bowling Green (3-1), Green Bay (2-0), Fort Wayne (4-0) and Cleveland State (2-1).
  • The Bearcats are still searching for their first league result, but have played one-goal matches vs. UConn (1-0), Temple (2-1) and Tulsa (1-0).
  • Pacing the Bearcats in scoring is David Sanz with six goals and five assists, while four markers each have been tallied by Sean Clarke, Darryn Commissiong and Austin Smythe.
  • Cincinnati has used a goalkeeping tandem in Noah Lawrence and Pearce Skinner which has combined for a 1.54 goals against average and .750 save percentage along with a 7-8-1 mark.


  • UCF holds an unblemished 5-0-0 mark against the Bearcats.
  • The Knights are 2-0-0 in matches played in Orlando, 2-0-0 on the road and 1-0-0 at neutral sites.
  • The last time the teams met at Cincinnati, Matias Pyysalo netted the lone goal in the 58th minute to help UCF in 2015.
  • Last year, Pyysalo also scored the only goal of the contest in the seventh minute in a 1-0 victory vs. the Bearcats.


  • Senior Matias Pyysalo was tabbed as The American Preseason Offensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches.
  • He tallied a natural hat trick, scoring the final three goals at Jacksonville. It was the first hat trick of his career and the first by a Knight since Deshorn Brown (currently with DC United) accomplished the feat vs. Memphis (10/24/12).
  • In the first seven matches, Pyysalo scored five of the seven goals by the Knights.
  • Pyysalo ranks among the nation's leaders in points (5th/2.09), goals (8th/0.82) and assists (43rd/0.45) per game.
  • The Helsinki, Finland, native tallied six of his 10 goals in conference play in 2016.
  • The 2016 American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year paced the league with 14 points and delivered game-winning goals vs. SMU (10/1), UConn (10/22) and Cincinnati (11/5).
  • He has totaled 29 goals and 19 assists in his career as a Knight. The 29 goals puts him in a tie for fifth on the all-time list with Mark Lamb (1984-87). Next on the list is Rony Francois (1980-83) with 39 goals.
  • The 77 total points by Pyysalo is tied for fifth on the career charts with Nik Robson (2009-2011). The next player on the list if Rony Francois (1980-83) with 101 points.


  • The first five matches were tough with all four of their goals being scored in a 4-0 win at Jacksonville. The draw against No. 14 West Virginia was the first result earned by UCF vs. a Top 25 since a 2-2 2OT draw at No. 24 UConn (10/5/13).
  • The start of conference play sparked the Knights in a pair of hard-fought road defeats to USF (3-2 2OT) and SMU (2-1)
  • UCF held leads in both matches, but was unable to finish off its opponents.
  • Back home, UCF posted a 4-0 victory over Memphis to boost its confidence, then played a 1-1 2OT draw vs. Memphis.
  • An all-around effort aided UCF to a 3-0 victory against physical Tulsa squad.
  • Cal Jennings quieted a capacity crowd at No. 22 UConn with a goal in the third minute, then tallied the game-winner to propel UCF to a 3-2 win.
  • In a pivotal matchup in the conference standings against Temple, Pyysalo left his mark on Senior Knight with a goal off a counter attack in the 50th minute to lift UCF, 1-0.
  • The Knights have scored 17 goals in the eight-game stretch and found scoring from Matias Pyysalo (8), Cal Jennings (6), Ricardo Oliveros (1), Yoni Sorokin, Gorka Aperribay and Andreas Steineger (1).


  • Head coach Scott Calabrese is in his first season guiding the Knights.
  • He spent the past three seasons at FIU, taking the program to its first NCAA Tournament in 10 years.
  • The Newton, Conn., native has compiled an 85-67-20 overall mark and started the program at East Tennessee State in 2008.
  • Calabrese has an experienced staff in Will Clayton, who played and coached at Wake Forest, and Paul Souders, who played for Calabrese at Clemson and coached at New Mexico.


  • With a victory, the Knights will earn a spot in The American Championship at the site of the regular-season winner.
  • The semifinal are slated for Nov. 10, while the championship match is on Nov. 12.

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