After the Knights scored three unanswered goals in the second half, the Owls lost their third consecutive game this season, the last two of which have been conference matches.
Temple University men’s soccer (1-3-2, 0-2 The American Athletic Conference) fell to the University of Central Florida (4-3, 2-0 AAC) 4-1 on Friday night in Orlando, Florida.
Owls’ head coach Brian Rowland thought the team played strong in the first half, but got sloppy towards the end, he said.
“As the game wore on, I think we struggled to get a hold of the ball,” Rowland added. “We have to execute better for sure, but we will.”
Knights’ fifth-year forward Alessandro Campoy scored the first goal of the game in the 13th minute. Campoy received a pass from Knights’ junior forward Gino Vivi in the box and ripped the ball past Owls’ goalkeeper Liam Cummings, taking an early 1-0 lead over the Owls.
In the 37th minute, Owls’ sophomore forward Mike Eijgendaal forced a shot past Knights’ redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Tyler Lavigne on a feed from junior forward Chaim Roserie, tying the game at 1-1.
Eijgendaal’s goal marked the first time the Owls have scored against the Knights in Orlando since 2015.
Despite the Owls’ offensive struggles, Eijgendaal is a bright spot for the team and has made two goals and one assist during the last four games. He is finding his way after a slow start, Rowland said.
“You know he is scoring goals which is good,” Rowland added. “We are going to need him to score more, we are going to need some of the other guys to step up and contribute.”
The Knights retook the lead after halftime. In the 52nd minute, sophomore forward Lucca Dourado tapped in a cross pass past Cummings, which put the Knights up 2-1.
The Knights added to their lead in the 72nd minute, when fifth-year forward Nick Taylor drove a shot past Cummings, who dove for the ball but missed.
In the 79th minute, Knights’ redshirt-junior forward Gianluca Arcangeli slipped past the Owls’ defense and extended their lead to 4-1.
The Owls have allowed 11 goals in their last three games, eight of which have come in their last two games against conference opponents.
Vivi and Southern Methodist University’s senior midfielder Gabriel Costa have played important roles in the Owls’ last two defeats, Rowland said.
“Game plan aside, I think players like that will find their way if we can’t maintain the level that we need to,” Rowland added. “We couldn’t necessarily finish the next game plan and that certainly goes out the window when we are chasing the game.
The Owls will take on the University of Memphis (1-6-1, 0-2 The American) in their next matchup at the Temple Sports Complex on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.