Going into halftime, the Owls trailed by a goal and needed a spark to get them back in the game.
It turns out the spark that fueled Temple’s 2-1 victory against the University of Pittsburgh at the Temple Sports Complex was a talk from coach David MacWilliams, along with a few minor personnel adjustments.
“I just said that we are going to go through some adversity early in the year,” MacWilliams said. “It’s a character check here. We switched the formation, we changed some things, and they came out and they responded.”
Senior defender Carlos Moros Gracia was the first to step up for the Owls (3-0-0), as he scored in the 61st minute off a rebound from junior forward Joonas Jokinen’s shot.
“I think I challenged Carlos at halftime,” MacWilliams said. “I think Carlos knew he was probably somewhat involved in the goal. He promised he was going to help out and make up for a mistake.”
Moros Gracia’s goal tied the game at one and set the stage for senior midfielder Jorge Gomez Sanchez’s go-ahead goal.
Gomez Sanchez scored in the 85th minute on one of his eight shots to lock down the win for Temple. He has now scored in all three of the team’s games and leads the Owls in goals and points. Freshman forward George McGee recorded the assist.
“I think we were relaxing in the first half,” Gomez Sanchez said. “We were tired, but I think our motivation to keep winning games, I think, has motivated us and helped us win the game.”
Temple’s last four goals have all been scored in the second half. MacWilliams sees this as a testament to his team’s endurance and ability to outlast and outplay its opponent.
“If you’re not fit, you probably won’t score those goals” MacWilliams said “So I think that fitness is definitely one area and I think perseverance.”
Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Cagle gave up his first goal of the season to Pitt’s junior forward Roosevelt Angulo in the 12th minute.
“We had a flat start, our defense got pushed up a little too high, and then they played a great ball in behind and we just got caught on our back foot,” Cagle said. “It definitely was a little disheartening.”
Cagle was drawn out of the net in an attempt to stifle Angulo’s shot, but the Pitt forward managed to get the ball behind him. Cagle faced four shots, two on goal, and ended the night with one save.
Maura Razanauskas can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @CaptainAMAURAca.