ORLANDO – The UCF men's soccer team is looking to return to its winning ways as it visits FIU this weekend for a 6:00 p.m. kick on Sunday.
Lucca Dourado has been on a roll for the Knights, scoring all eight of his goals over the past six matches. His six-game streak is the second longest active in the country, sitting behind LIU's Emil Jaaskelainen who has scored in seven straight contests. LIU will also be in action on Sunday as Jaaskelainen looks to extend his streak as well. Jaaskelainen is tied for the national lead in goals with 10, meaning Dourado is just a pair of goals away from a tie with the top. Dourado's continued success while wearing the Black and Gold has him standing alone in tenth place on UCF's all-time goals scored list with 25.
Eight different Knights have assisted on Dourado's eight goals, with Mauricio Villalobos Vega, Emmanuel Bam, Oscar Hough, AJ Seals, Gino Vivi, Maël Haise, Kevin Andrews and Anderson Rosa all tallying at least one connection to the striker. Villalobos is second on the team in points with a goal and five assists, followed closely by Vivi with a goal and four assists.
The Knights enter the weekend with three straight conference losses, all decided by a single goal. UCF has only lost three straight conference matches one other time during head coach Scott Calabrese's tenure, coming at the end of the 2021 regular season. The Black and Gold have never lost four consecutive matches in the Calabrese era. The Knights will look to snap the losing skid and avoid reaching a four-match losing streak for the first time since 2014, when UCF finished the season 2-10-6 with a stretch of four straight one-goal losses thrown in.
With a win, coach Calabrese would move into a tie of third in total wins as UCF head coach. Bryan Cunningham finished his 10-year career with a record of 59-63-26, coaching just before Calabrese from 2007-16. Cunningham led the Knights to two straight NCAA Tournament Second Round appearances in 2010 and 2011. Calabrese enters the match with a 58-28-8 record as UCF head coach and a 143-95-28 career mark in his 15th total season.
Sunday will mark the first time since 2012 that UCF and FIU will face each other as conference foes. The Panthers had been part of Conference USA prior to joining The American this season. The Black and Gold beat FIU 1-0 back on Oct. 3, 2012, their final run as part of Conference USA prior to joining The American in 2013.
The Knights have a 5-4-1 edge in the last 10 meetings with the Panthers, but it has been FIU who has found the most recent success, winning four of the last five contests and holding an all-time series lead of 29-13-4. Six of the last 10 meetings have been decided by a goal or less; FIU topped UCF to open the 2021 campaign by a score of 4-0, the most recent meeting between the two sides.
FIU enters the weekend with a record of 7-3, including a 3-1 mark in conference play, currently sharing the top seed with SMU. Stephen Afrifa leads the team in points, scoring five goals and two assists. Kevin Harr was the primary goalkeeper to begin the season, but it has been Matt Levy between the posts for the Panthers' three most recent contests. Levy has allowed two goals and made ten saves so far, facing 26 shots and helping FIU to a 3-0 record.
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