IRVINE, Calif. – The UCF men's soccer team finished their non-conference regular season slate with a 3-2 victory over UC Irvine thanks to a game-winning goal by Maël Haise in the 77th minute.
Similar to last match, the Knights got on the board within the first 15 minutes as Lucca Dourado was on the receiving end of a long pass on a quick change of possession. Oscar Hough earned his first collegiate point with an assist on the play.
The Anteaters evened the match in the 32nd minute as Diego Otoya capitalized on a UCF turnover. He got the ball, passed it to teammate Robert Mejia, who shot and was denied by Juanvi Muñoz in goal. Otoya collected the rebound to make the game 1-1.
The match was level for just a few minutes as Dourado netted his second goal of the contest on another nifty goal in space. AJ Seals recorded his first point as a Knight, feeding the ball up to Maurico Villalobos Vega who clicked it on to Dourado, who chipped it over a charging UC Irvine goalkeeper. The multi-goal game was the fourth of Dourado's career and his first since the team's matchup at Memphis on Sep. 18 of last season. The Villalobos assist extends his point streak to three matches, appearing on the scoresheet in each of UCF's wins.
The Knights carried a 2-1 lead into the half despite being outshot 8-7. It was just the second time this season the Black and Gold had a lead at the break, with the other two matches going into halftime tied 0-0.
The Anteaters leveled the match quickly in the second half as Samuel Atiye scored in the 54th minute to tie things up at 2-2.
UC Irvine went on to tally 11 shot attempts in the second half of play compared to UCF's four. The Black and Gold needed just one to find the match winner as Gino Vivi whipped a corner into the box to find the head of Maël Haise who was able to sneak the ball just inside the right post for the goal. It's the second goal of the campaign for the rookie, both coming via the header on corner kicks served by Vivi.
Give him a hand ?? pic.twitter.com/7gJKaORIZd— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) September 10, 2022
Friday night's contest was the first match that UCF had played in California in exactly a decade. The Knights wrap up their non-conference slate with a 3-1 record, with their only blemish coming at the hands of a 1-0 loss to No. 15 Wake Forest. The 3-1 mark is the best start for the program since the 2011 season, a year in which the Knights ripped off five straight victories out of the gate.
The Knights will have some time off before returning to action and starting conference play. UCF visits Temple on Sep. 17 for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
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