MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The No. 23 UCF men's soccer team was edged by No. 24 Memphis by a score of 3-2 late Saturday night, snapping the Black and Gold's four-match winning streak.
The Knights found themselves down early as the Tigers scored in the seventh minute via a corner kick. Cesar Sancho was the goal scorer with an assist from Hayden Anderson.
The Tiger goal was the lone one of the first half. The Knights out-chanced Memphis in nearly every phase of the match after 45 minutes, leading 9-2 in shot attempts and 8-2 in corners.
Memphis added another goal in the opening minutes of the second half, with Emanuel Santos netting the chance with an assist from Lineker Rodrigues dos Santos in the 50th minute.
The Knights responded almost immediately, drawing a foul inside the 18-yard box and earning a penalty kick. Lucca Dourado cashed in from the spot, cutting the Memphis lead in half. It was Dourado's sixth goal in as many matches.
Lightning in the area stopped play at the 56-minute mark of the match. The two sides exited the pitch and returned to their respective locker rooms and stayed there for well over an hour. Play finally resumed at 11:10 ET, putting an end to an hour and 42-minute delay.
UCF leveled the match less than 10 minutes after resuming play following the delay. AJ Seals dished one off to Anderson Rosa near the top of the 18-yard box, who rifled one into the net in the 63rd minute.
Play continued as the Knights continued to tally shot attempt after shot attempt but couldn't find the go-ahead goal. The 71st minute saw a small collision in the box but it was enough to have the referee point to the spot for a Memphis penalty kick. Alberto Cruz banked one off UCF goalkeeper Juanvi Muñoz's diving foot and into the net to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
The Knights added five shot attempts and three corner kicks in the final 19 minutes but didn't find an equalizer. It's the Knights' first loss in conference play this season and first defeat since losing to then No. 15 Wake Forest in a 1-0 season-opening result on Aug. 25.
UCF finished the contest with 20 shot attempts compared to Memphis' six. The Knights tallied 21 shot attempts in the two sides' previous meeting back in the American Athletic Conference 2021 semifinals and went on to win that contest by a score of 6-0. Saturday night's contest saw the Black and Gold earn six shots on target compared to Memphis' three, all of which found the back of the net.
UCF finished the match with 13 corner kicks to the Tigers' two. The 13 corners is the most since Nov. 16, 2019, when the Knights fell to SMU by a score of 1-0 in The American title match. The Knights finished first in the country in corner kicks that season, averaging 8.30 a match, with four contests with 13 or more corners. UCF is currently averaging eight corner kicks a game this season.
The Knights now hold a 15-9-4 lead in the all-time series and have dropped two of the last three meetings to Memphis. The Black and Gold have gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 matches against Memphis, with two of their losses coming with a 3-2 score on the road.
UCF will return home for its first home match since Sep. 5 as it plays host to FAU for the first time as a conference foe in The American. That match is scheduled to be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sep. 30 at the UCF Soccer Complex.
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