The UCA men’s soccer team finished up their three game home stint on Saturday by taking on the UMKC ‘Roos and dropping the match 2-1 after a late rally by UMKC.
UMKC (2-1-1) grabbed the lead early in the match at the 14th minute when freshman midfielder Pandelis Popgeorgiev beat Central Arkansas sophomore keeper Harrison Veith from eight yards out off an assist from freshman midfielders Pepe Cepeda and Diego Serfaty.
Though the Bears were down early, sophomore midfielder William Woody said he felt good about the mentality that the team kept leading up to its equalizing goal.
“I think it’s something we learned over time,” Woody said. “Things are going to happen in the game that we weren’t ready for that we must adapt to no matter what the situation. I was so pleased with my team and how even though we went down we maintained control and that attitude of ‘no we deserve to win this game.’”
The Bears (1-4) rallied to get the equalizer just seven minutes later, when freshman midfielder Daltyn Knutson found junior striker Wes Carson just outside the box.
Carson beat the UMKC’s freshman keeper, Ryan Tome, to the near post tying the match at 1-1 with his fourth goal of the season.
According to an interview with coach Ross Duncan on UCA Sports, Duncan had seen development between Knutson and Carson.
He went on to say that utilizing player chemistry on the field paid out “immediate dividends.”
Central Arkansas would spend the remainder of the half chasing the leading goal, firing off five shots. But at half time the score remained 1-1.
The battle would be long and hard. Deep into the second half the Central Arkansas defenders were unsuccessful in a clearing attempt, putting the ball at the feet of UMKC’s senior midfielder and defender, Roberto Albuquerque.
Albuquerque fired off a straight shot, clipping the cross bar and deflecting in from just outside the 18-yard box to give the ‘Roos a 2-1 lead in the 72nd minute.
Though this goal knocked the Bears them into the danger zone, Woody felt as though the match was not a loss.
“We have to understand that we did not really lose this game against the Roos,” Woody said. “I told the boys at the end of the game that I was so proud how we reacted after both goals and that they did not deserve this. It took an unbelievable goal from one player who will never have a shot like that again in his career.”
Offensively, the Central Arkansas attack was led by Carson, who was able to put two of his four attempts on goal, while Knutson, Woody, and sophomore midfielder Pepe San Roman, along with sophomore striker Colton Jackson were each able to put one shot on frame.
In goal for the Bears, Veith was able to string together four saves.
The Bears will get a rematch with the Incarnate Word Cardinals at 8 p.m. on Friday before taking on Houston Baptist at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The Bears hope to even the score in conference during their opening match.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 16, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via ucasports.com