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No. 6 Men's Soccer Readying for Non-Conference Finale against Brown

by Ryan Ladika
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ORLANDO – After playing to a 2-2 draw Tuesday evening against No. 11 FIU in their first match as a top six team in the nation (United Soccer Coaches), the No. 6 UCF men’s soccer team is looking to return to the win column in their Saturday tilt against the Brown University Bears in its final match of non-conference play.

UCF’s (3-0-1) Tuesday draw snapped the Knights’ season-opening three-game win streak, which represented the team’s longest to begin a slate since the 2011 season, though the Black and Gold’s longest season-opening unbeaten streak since that 2011 campaign (seven matches, 6-0-1) remains intact.

The Knights took command of the affairs early in Tuesday’s contest and controlled the game’s pace for much of the evening, beginning with a Lucca Dourado score in the 15th minute. Emmanuel Bam, after outworking and dribbling past a Panthers defender in the near corner, provided the veteran forward with a pass just outside the six-yard box.

Dourado met the ball with a quick strike and sent it past FIU goalkeeper Tyler Hogan, notching his second goal of the season and the 30th goal of his four-year career. The tally also pushed Dourado higher into UCF men’s soccer lore, as he become the seventh player in program history to eclipse the 30-goal mark in a Knights uniform.

UCF pressed on, doubling its lead late in the contest via a goal directly off a Beto Ydrach free kick in the 83rd minute, representing the redshirt-senior’s his first goal of the season and the second of his career.

A single-match career-high nine saves by starting goaltender Juanvi Muñoz saw the Knights safely through the first 82 minutes before the Panthers managed to claw their way back with a pair of goals in the span of just over two minutes to force UCF’s first draw of the year.

The match marked the first of the team’s four this season that saw the Knights yield more than one goal defensively, though UCF still enters its weekend matchup with Brown ranking among Sun Belt leaders in total goals (9, T-3rd), win percentage (.875, T-3rd), goals per game (2.25, 3rd), total points (23, T-4th), goal differential (+4, 4th), and shot accuracy (.489, 4th).

Muñoz’s career night also propelled the Valencia, Spain, native into the conference’s top three in saves per game with an average of 3.25 thus far, a mark that ranks 45th in the nation and third in the Sun Belt.

The Knights’ weekend tilt against Brown continues a trend of unfamiliar opponents throughout the early portion of the 2023 schedule, as the Bears represent the third foe of UCF’s first five that the Knights had faced fewer than twice in program history prior to the matchup this season. While the Knights had squared off against both then-No. 4/9 Clemson (Top Drawer/United Soccer Coaches) and NC State just twice before to the 2023 slate, their meeting with Brown will mark the first in program history.

The 1-1-0 Bears emerged victorious in their season-opener against UMass, 3-1, before dropping a 6-0 decision to Fairfield in their most recent match Monday evening. Senior midfielder Kojo Dadzie represents the program’s leading scorer through two matches, as the Redmond, Washington, native was responsible for two of the Bears’ three goals in their season-opening win.

Between the goalposts, sophomore netminder Henrik Weiper has handled all 180 minutes thus far, making four saves in both of Brown’s first two matches. Weiper started all but two of the Bears’ 17 games last season as well, playing the full 90 minutes in each and making at least four saves in seven of his 15 appearances.

Kickoff for the Knights’ Saturday contest against Brown is set for 7 p.m. from the UCF Soccer Complex.


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