Temple men’s soccer (3-5-1, 0-1-1 The American Athletic Conference) tied Cincinnati (3-6-1, 0-1-1 The American Athletic Conference) 1-1 on Saturday night at the Temple Sports Complex.
Both teams got on the board early in the game. In the eighth minute, redshirt-junior defender Brandon Johnson scored the first goal of the game and his first goal for Temple after transferring from Grand Canyon University. Johnson scored on a header assisted by sophomore defender Esteban Suarez on a corner kick. Johnson became the fifth Owl to score this season.
“It felt good,” Johnson said. “Prior to coming here, I’ve scored two goals, but both of them were called offsides. So it’s nice to have a goal stand, I’m very excited.”
“I think we do well getting in the right places, it’s just that last piece of finishing, being aggressive in the box and just putting away our chances,” he added. “We had 20 shots tonight, you know we got to find ways to put them in the back of the net.”
Five minutes later, Bearcats junior midfielder Mason Volker tied the game at 1-1 in part to a low shot down the middle of the goal, taken right outside of the Owls’ box. Senior goalkeeper Simon Lefebvre could not get down in time to stop it.
“Obviously we need some more goals so it’s good personally, but the collective is first, so obviously, [we’re] a little bit disappointed,” junior defender Pierre Cayet said.
From that point, both teams failed to score, despite generating many chances. The Owls registered 20 total shots and put seven of those on net. The Bearcats had 14 shots but only two on goal.
“I was happy with the chances that we created,” coach Brian Rowland said. “I think we could have created more. I think especially in the first 15 minutes, I thought we had them very rattled.”
Just two minutes into the second half, Temple almost took the lead again. Senior midfielder Leandros Lillis almost scored on a free kick from 25 yards out, but Bearcats junior goalkeeper Noah Lawrence punched the ball away.
Then, sophomore forward Elias Hellgren Villegas ripped off a shot from a corner kick, but Lawrence made a diving save.
“I think we thought we would find some opportunities in the second half to score,” Rowland said. “I believe that we did, but we have to show a little bit more killer instinct in front of the goal and finish up some of those chances.”
Moments before the end of regulation, Cincinnati developed another chance with a scramble in Temple’s box, but redshirt-sophomore Paul Frendach made a goal-line clearance to deny the Bearcats the lead.
Lefebvre did not record a save in the game for the second time this season.
“You saw defensively [we were] good, but we can still improve because we still had one shot on goal [and] one goal,” Cayet said.
Seven minutes into overtime, freshman forward Aly Camara entered the match and saw an opportunity to give the Owls the win. After a corner kick from freshman midfielder Lior Nesher, Camara’s shot went off the crossbar, and the game remained tied.
An Owls player then put the ball into the back of the net for the game-winner, but it was ruled offsides.
“That was an opportunity for us to maybe score some goals early on and make them even more uncomfortable,” Rowland said. “I was happy we got the goal we did, but we’re creating chances, which is good. I think we can create more and we can finish them off.
Temple will face off against St. John’s University (9-1, 3-0 The Big East Conference) in Queens, New York on Tuesday at 7 p.m. St. John’s is ranked No. 12 in the United Soccer Coaches poll.