In the 65th minute, freshman midfielder Albert Moreno crossed the ball in front of the net, and senior midfielder Jorge Gomez Sanchez kicked it in for this third goal of the day.
Largely thanks to Gomez Sanchez’s hat trick, the Owls beat Fairfield University 4-0 at the Temple Sports Complex on Saturday.
“I thought they had an excellent game today,” coach David MacWilliams said. “I think we were disciplined. I think we executed the gameplan and kind of got back the way we’re supposed to play, you know, not allowing opportunities.”
Temple (5-2-0) held the Stags (2-2-2) to two shots, and only one on target. Meanwhile, the Owls had a productive day offensively with 14 shots.
Gomez Sanchez and senior midfielder/forward Joonas Jokinen combined for all four goals. In addition to Jokinen’s 54th-minute goal, he tallied two assists. Together, they account for 32 of the team’s 46 points.
For the Owls’ third goal, scored in the 63rd minute, Jokinen assisted Gomez Sanchez to put the Owls up by three. When Fairfield’s goalkeeper was out of position, Jokinen took advantage of the gaffe and shot from near midfield. His shot hit the crossbar and bounced back where Gomez Sanchez was ready to tap in the rebound.
“I think [Jokinen] is a really good player because there is a lot of quality,” Gomez Sanchez said. “He finds me very well, and I need him in the field to score goals.”
In the seven games the Owls have played thus far, Gomez Sanchez has totaled nine goals. Last season, in 18 games, he scored 13 goals. He is on pace to beat last year’s total.
“He’s very special,” MacWilliams said. “I think the understanding that both him and Joonas Jokinen have together, I think is really becoming very special.”
With about 22 minutes to go in the game and a four-goal lead, MacWilliams began subbing in several players from the bench. By the end of the game, only two starters remained: senior defender Carlos Moros Gracia and junior midfielder Brendon Creed.
In the 74th minute, redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Cagle, who recorded one save for the day, took a seat on the bench, allowing for sophomore goalkeeper Robin Goetz to get some playing time.
After breaking their two-game losing streak, the Owls now prepare to play their first American Athletic Conference game against Connecticut on Saturday, Sept. 24. This will be a big road test for the Owls against last year’s conference runner-up. The Huskies have defeated the Owls the past two years in the conference tournament, knocking them out in the first round.
“I think, as I said, it is the biggest game of the year,” Gomez Sanchez said. “We have prepared for it, and we needed this victory to get the momentum back and get the confidence back because we have to win the next game.”
Maura Razanauskas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CaptainAMAURAca.
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