Oct. 30, 2004
Oct. 29, 2004
BOCA RATON, FL - Walter Yoder's goal in the 52nd minute gave the Florida Atlantic University men's soccer team a 3-2 victory over Georgia State in Atlantic Sun Conference action on Friday evening. The win for the Owls, combined with Mercer's overtime defeat of UCF, means that FAU now has a half game lead at the top of the conference with two games remaining. Unfortunately, the win was marred by a season-ending broken leg sustained by star senior forward Kristoffer Aarskog.
"We played one of our best conference games of the season tonight," said Owls head coach Kos Donev after the game. "We certainly controlled the pace and rhythm in the first half and kept it up in the second half."
The Owls (10-2, 6-1) dominated early possession in the crucial first half but it was the Panthers who came out of the period on top.
Rustin Kluge's curling left-footed effort in the 10th minute should have given the Owls an early lead but the shot rattled the crossbar above a diving Paulo Gutierrez.
Sophomore midfielder Aaron Farrelly missed a golden chance in the 31st minute but his shot from six yards out was just wide.
A minute later, Tyler Hamilton beat Samuel-Eli Dzegede down the left wing before cutting the ball back to Farrelly. This time Farrelly found the back of the net, giving the Panthers (8-5-1, 6-2) a 1-0 lead.
Right on the 43 minute mark, the game was tied again. A floated free kick from Bjorn Totland on the FAU left was only partially cleared by a Panther defender and Rustin Kluge was in the right place at the right time to slam the ball home from 16 yards out.
Then with less than 90 seconds remaining in the half, the Panthers capitalized on a rare goalkeeping error by Anders Granstad to take the lead once more. The junior could not hold on to a hard shot by Armin Marquez and Aaron Shepherd finished easily from close range.
The second half promised to be a classic as FAU looked to battle back with the A-Sun lead on the line.
Georgia State appeared to have taken a 3-1 lead in the opening minutes of the period but the goal was ruled out on an offside decision.
With 3:30 gone in the half, things got bizarre in sudden fashion.
Aarskog and Shepherd clashed for a 50-50 ball in the Panthers' penalty area with Aarskog coming off the worse in the challenge, crumpling to the ground in agony.
There wasn't an immediate decision by the referee, but after Aarskog had been carted off the field, the man in the middle consulted with his linesman and awarded a penalty to the Owls and a red card to Shepherd.
Josh Garbee stepped up and fired the penalty into the lower left-hand corner of Gutierrez's net, tying the game at 2-2.
It took the Owls less than three minutes to take advantage of their extra man. A shot by Dzegede was well saved by Gutierrez, but Yoder popped up at the far post to put away the rebound and send his team to the top of the A-Sun.
"We just have to carry on and get closer together as a team," said Donev after seeing probably his most influential player end his career on a sad note. "I'm not concerned about first place right now, we just have to put in extra effort to make up the difference and concentrate on Sunday."
The Owls take on Mercer on Sunday at 1:00 pm before heading to Stetson for the Owls' final A-Sun game on Thursday afternoon. Tickets for Sunday's game will be $4 for adults and $2 for seniors/children.
NOTES: With the win, the Owls clinched a spot in the six-team Atlantic Sun Tournament...there were seven yellow cards handed out in the game, four to the Owls...senior midfielder Gustavo `Guga' Alencar played his first game since sustaining an ankle injury against Campbell on October 14...Kluge, who set a 2004 team high with eight shots, picked up his first yellow card of the season for excessive celebration after his first-half goal.