UCF Completes Comeback to Beat SMU 2-1

Box Score (PDF)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF men's soccer team won its fifth straight match in come from behind fashion, tallying two second half goals to defeat SMU 2-1 on Friday night.

"It's nice to see the level of belief the guys have in each other and in what we're doing," said head coach Scott Calabrese. "What we saw was an incredible response to a really difficult start to the game. SMU put a lot of pressure on us in those first five to ten minutes, we were against the wind and we were having a difficult time. They're very good on set pieces and they capitalized on one of those opportunities. But to me, to see our team respond the way they did is excellent. It shows this growth and belief in each other."

Seniors Yannik Oettl, Hattabiou Barry, Yoni Sorokin and Itzik Efraim were honored prior to the match as part of their Senior Knight. They were presented with a commemorative jersey thanking them for their time at UCF.

SMU wasted no time in their attack. Just 2:50 into the match, the Mustangs scored off a set piece opportunity as Gabriel Costa served a ball in for Papa Ndoye who headed it home for the early 1-0 lead.

The Knights got their feet under them after the first ten minutes and started creating some incredible chances for themselves and nearly tallied a few fast break goals. It was not to be though as the went into the half down a goal. SMU had a 7-6 edge in shot attempts at the break with corners even at four a piece.

The chilly, windy weather in Orlando played a factor in the match. UCF was going against the wind early on and had the wind at their backs the second half, helping in their offensive efforts.

The Black and Gold came out of the half hungry, tallying two quick shot attempts. The pressure continued and the Knights finally cracked the Mustangs with a pair of freshmen as Lucca Dourado earned his first career goal off an assist from Beto Ydrach, the first of his career.

UCF kept the pressure on and were rewarded less than 15 minutes later. Ydrach lobbed a ball downfield for a sprinting Gino Vivi, who was being trailed by an SMU defender. The Mustang got a piece of the ball on a sliding attempt but was unable to clear it out of harms way as Vivi was able to streak to the lose ball and spring towards goal. Vivi took a few strides, picked a corner and fired it home to give UCF the 2-1 edge in the 76th minute. Ydrach earned his second assist of the evening, making him the first Knight to have a two-assist effort since Vivi earned a pair against Missouri State in 2019's NCAA Tournament Second Round.

The Black and Gold pushed for more goals, outshooting SMU the rest of the way by a count of 4-2 as they rode the wave of momentum to victory. The Knights looked as lively as ever, earning a 9-4 advantage in shot attempts in the final frame.
The victory seals a regular season sweep of SMU as the Knights have beat them twice in less than a month. Five of the last six meetings between the two sides have been decided by a goal or less.

Friday night's win was UCF's first come from behind victory of the campaign. The Black and Gold were 0-3-0 when allowing a goal within the first 15 minutes, when not scoring first and when trailing at the half. The Knights haven't lost a match in which they score multiple goals. The offense has been firing on all cylinders for UCF as they've outscored their opponents 11-2 on their five match winning streak.

For the moment, UCF leads the conference in points with 18 with one match left. However, Tulsa is also seeking the top spot in the conference, sitting at 16 points with two matches remaining.

The Knights will wrap up their regular season schedule and look to earn their third straight regular season conference title on the road at Memphis on Friday at 8 p.m.

Follow UCF Men's Soccer on social media on Facebook (/UCFMensSoccer), Twitter (@UCF_MSoccer) and Instagram (@UCF.MSoccer).

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