The No. 13 UCF men’s soccer team opened its season with a 4-0 loss against the Florida International University (FIU) Panthers on Thursday.
"Obviously, the outcome is disappointing," UCF Head Coach Scott Calabrese said. "The performance is disappointing. I felt like we really didn't have our rhythm in terms of what we typically do."
Within the opening minutes of the game, FIU forward Rasmus Tobinski shot and scored in the UCF net. Matt Douglass, UCF's redshirt goalkeeper, made a save but was unable to stop the rebound.
Half an hour into the game, FIU doubled its lead when FIU forward Bernardo Dos Santos Monteiro scored a goal after a tight pass from FIU defender Philip Hildebrandt.
"This was a case where we had too many touches, or we made the wrong choice," Calabrese said.
During the first half of the game, five yellow cards were handed out, four of which were given to FIU. Yellow cards are caution signs to the players for dangerous or reckless play, and any official on the field can present one. Along with the yellow cards, 16 fouls took place by halftime, with FIU executing nine of them.
Back from halftime, UCF forward Alessandro Campoy had a hopeful header. However, it was deflected by FIU goalkeeper Grant Makela, who ended up making four saves.
FIU continued its path to success when FIU defender David Garcia scored a header on a curling free kick goal. Shortly after, UCF was down a player, as midfielder Caleb Franke received his second yellow card. This was followed by a red card, which officials use to remove a player from the game.
In the end, FIU midfielder Stephen Afrifa managed to score once more in the final moments of the game, securing the win for the Panthers. With the tallies counted, a total of 11 cards were shown and 29 fouls had been carried out, primarily by FIU.
Although it was a tough start to the season, UCF midfielder Mauricio Villalobos Vega said the team has a long way to go, and he's still excited for what’s to come.
“We were in this same spot last season,” Vega said. “We’re ready to do it again this year and even better, and I think this is just a great opportunity to show how tough and how strong a program we are.”
The Knights will have a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday, as they go up against the University of North Florida Ospreys at 6 p.m. at the UCF Soccer and Track Complex.