Men's Soccer Visits #9 SMU on Saturday Night

Match Notes

UCF at #9 SMU

March 13, 8 p.m. ET

ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF men's soccer team looks to keep their momentum rolling into Dallas as they travel to face No. 9 SMU on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

There is no love lost between these two teams, as they have quickly become one of the newest and fiercest rivalries in college soccer. The Knights and Mustangs have met in the American Athletic Conference Championship match in each of the last three seasons and have faced each other seven times over the past three campaigns. SMU edged the Knights for the conference postseason title 1-0 and again in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament by a count of 2-1 in overtime.

The good news for UCF is that the two teams have completely opposite vibes coming into Saturday's meeting. The Knights are coming off a much-deserved win over Memphis while the Mustangs are fresh off a shutout in which they were upset by Temple. SMU went into last weekend as the No. 2 team in the nation and have dropped to No. 9 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll this week. The Mustangs remain at the top of the American Athletic Conference table with a record of 3-1-0 so far.

Everything went right for the Black and Gold in their win over Memphis. UCF came out of the gates strong, tallying a shot attempt and earning four corners in the first fifteen minutes. During that time, Memphis committed five fouls, giving the Knights a chance to run their game plan. The foul trouble continued for the Tigers as they tripped up Andrew Lizyness in the box who was chasing down a rebound, leading to a penalty kick. Yoni Sorokin converted on the chance from the spot, making him four-for-five in his career on penalty kick chances. The Knights made it a 2-0 lead when Hattabiou Barry sent a beautiful ball through the box to the awaiting foot of Ariel Hadar who scored his first career goal in the 60th minute. Matt Douglass picked up his first career victory and tallied three saves in the 2-1 victory.

The first 15 minutes have been crucial to the Knights' success in each of the last two campaigns. Last season, UCF posted a record of 7-0-1 when scoring within the first 15 minutes. This year, it has been all about holding the opponent scoreless in those first key minutes. The Black and Gold are 2-0-0 when holding their opponent scoreless in the first 15 this spring and 0-3-0 when allowing a goal in that time frame. UCF hasn't scored in the first 15 minutes of a match this season but are 2-0-0 when scoring the opening goal.

SMU will be missing a pair of starters on their roster this weekend as two Mustangs were issued red cards in last week's match. The first one came in the 63rd minute when junior defender Thomas Haney tripped up a Temple player as the last man back, leading to a penalty kick and a straight red. He has started each game for SMU and has a pair of goals this season. The second red card was issued in the 86th minute to the Mustang's starting striker, Papa Ndoye, who was caught in a tussle with an Owl after a contest in a box. Ndoye has four goals for SMU this spring and has attempted 21 shots.

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