Temple men’s soccer (1-3-0, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) finally notched its first victory of the season with a 3-0 win over Lafayette College (3-1-1, 0-0 Patriot League) Friday night at the Temple Sports Complex.
The Owls jumped out to a fast start on offense with a few scoring chances on goal within the first 20 minutes. The Owls’ first goal of the season came from sophomore defender Mikael Borger as he headed in a shot from a set piece assisted by freshman midfielder Amir Cohen in the 23rd minute.
“Amazing, amazing feeling,” Borger said. “I was so happy to help the team, my teammates. We have been working so hard to win this game and scoring the first goal for me, it’s something amazing, a great feeling.”
Just two minutes later, Temple extended its lead to 2-0 on a goal from senior forward Lukas Fernandes.
“I just made a darting run and he found me with a perfect pass,” Fernandes said. “As soon as I had the ball in my feet I knew I was going to put it in the back of the net.”
Temple continued to control possession in the second half, gaining a few more chances on goal. The Owls had several scoring chances in the 54th minute when junior defender Pierre Cayet headed a cross on goal following a well-executed corner kick from Fernandes. Leopards sophomore goalkeeper Alex Sutton made a diving reaction save to his left to prevent the goal.
Fernandes liked how his teammates were receiving opportunities at the net.
“Our set pieces are going to be a very dangerous part of our game, and I think the more we train, the better we get at it,” Fernandes said. “The more goals are going to come from guys like Pierre and Mika.”
Fernandes converted on a penalty kick in the 60th minute to log his second goal of the game, extending the Owls’ lead to three.
Even though the Owls recorded their first shutout of the season, Borger said he would not say the defense was perfect.
“We did a great job, it could have been better, we can still improve,” Borger said. “But I think they had no chances except the throw in or the corner. But that’s it, so we did a great job and we’re all so happy for that.”
Coach Brian Rowland said his team felt “great” to win at home.
“I thought we’ve played well in our games up until this point, and we need to put on a complete performance,” Rowland said. “I think we showed that we’re an improved team from the beginning of the season. I’m just happy to put a performance that’s worthy of our team.”
Rowland said the team was more aggressive in the final third of the field compared to the Owls’ first three games.
“I think we just played with an aggression that maybe was lacking from our first couple games,” Rowland said. “I think today we just showed a little bit more grit, a little bit more hunger to make plays, and I think that that was something that I noticed with the group today for sure.”
Temple will face the University of Delaware on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Temple Sports Complex.
“I think we’ll look at it, getting prepared for Delaware, who’s a very good opponent, they’ve had some good results I know so far this season so we’ll get to work,” Rowland said. “We’ll look at the video, see some areas that we can keep getting better and we just want to grow every game and continue to improve throughout the season so that’s going to be the model for us going forward.”