FORT MYERS, Fla. – A pair of goals in the first half helped the FGCU men’s soccer team jump out to a two-goal lead and hold on for a 2-1 win over visiting FIU in a non-conference matchup on Friday night at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
The win moves the Eagles to 4-2-2 heading into Atlantic Sun Conference play next weekend, while FIU slips to 4-3. FGCU now holds a seven-game home unbeaten streak (6-0-1) that dates back to the final four games of last season and has now taken two straight from the Golden Panthers.
“FIU gave us all we could handle tonight and it was a tough game against a team ranked ahead of us,” said fourth-year head coach Bob Butehorn. “However, I’m pleased with the outcome.”
FGCU entered tonight’s game at No. 7 in the NSCAA South Region rankings, one spot behind the Golden Panthers.
The reigning Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Week, FGCU keeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS) made all four of his saves in the second half to help preserve the win. Glick won the matchup against his counterpart Shane Lopez, who was recently tabbed the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week. Lopez made three saves.
After a fairly uneventful opening 20 minutes produced just one shot, the game action moved from the midfield into the goal boxes over the final 25 minutes. Junior Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS) notched the first of three goals in the first half at the 23:47 mark, ripping a shot from outside the right side of the goal box off the far left post and into the net to give FGCU a 1-0 lead. The goal was Portillo’s first of the season.
Sophomore Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) nearly gave the Eagles a two-goal lead just minutes later when he forced Lopez to make a leaping save on a free kick that found its way over a wall of FIU defenders towards the upper part of the net.
FGCU continued to supply pressure and found the back of the net for the second time in the 36th minute when junior Cristian Raudales’ (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS) header sailed over the out-stretched arms of Lopez, who found himself too far out of the net. Raudales’ second goal in three games gave the Blue and Green a 2-0 lead and was assisted by sophomore Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS/FIU), who put a shot on net in the 33rd minute.
The Golden Panthers broke into the scoring column and supplied the third goal over an 18-minute stretch at the 41:31 mark when they took advantage of a penalty kick. FGCU was called for a foul in the goal box, resulting in a penalty kick that FIU’s Michael Muehseler drilled home for his fifth goal of the year to make it a 2-1 score.
The FGCU 2-1 lead held up through the final three and a half minutes, as the Eagles held a 5-2 edge in shots at the break.
The biggest threat to the FGCU lead came just 5:25 into the half when Glick got a piece of a header from FIU’s Sebastian Frings that still hit the post. The save was the first of the game for Glick, but the first of four in the half for the keeper.
The Golden Panthers held a 7-3 edge in shots over the final 45 minutes, testing Glick up until the final minute. The four-time A-Sun Defense Player of the Week turned away Frings again with 58 second remaining.
For the game, FIU finished with a 9-8 edge in shots, while FGCU had two of three corner kicks in the contest. Each team put five shots on net.
FGCU will enjoy its first one-game weekend this season, as it earns a well-deserved six-day break from game action before heading to Nashville, Tenn. to open Atlantic Sun action. The Eagles will begin by taking on Lipscomb on Friday, Oct. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The all-time series is now tied at 2-2 … FGCU has taken two straight from the Golden Panthers … FGCU’s two goals marked its third multi-goal game of the season and the first since opening the year with two straight during wins at then-No.13 USF (2-1) and at VCU (2-1) … Glick now has 18 career wins in net … Raudales’ goal was the 10th of his career and his fourth career game-winner … Portillo’s goal was the second of his career and broke a 28-game streak without a point.