ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – UCF fired 18 shots and controlled the run of play for much of the match, but two corner-kick goals proved to be the difference in a 2-0 loss to Mercer at the UCF Soccer Complex on Wednesday.
“We knew that Mercer was a team that played for set pieces and are good at them,” head coach Bryan Cunningham said. “We had to be sharp and unfortunately, they got us in two isolated situations and scored twice in the first half.”
“At the end of the day, we controlled the tempo, had more shots and possession, but were unable to score,” Cunningham said. “Unfortunately when you give up an early goal, your back is against the wall with a team that wants to sit back and is very disciplined. Their keeper made some fantastic saves.”
The Mercer (2-2-0) goalkeeper Jeremy Booth made seven key stops, including four that came from point-blank opportunities by the Knights.
PLAYING WITH ADVERSITY
-The Knights conceded a goal in the seventh minute after giving up a corner kick on the counter attack.
-UCF attacked after that and controlled the pace of play by recording eight shots, including four on-goal, and five corner kicks.
– The back-breaker for the Knights came with 14 seconds left in the first half as a Mercer corner kick was headed in to the net near the far post by Jourdan Gooden off a service from Kobe Perez.
-UCF had three quality chances inside the box in the final 10 minutes, but the Mercer keeper Booth was up to the task on each one.
-His best stop robbed a would-be goal by Barry with a leaping effort that pushed the ball above the cross bar in the 86th minute.
-The Knights held a 7-2 advantage in corners and 18-5 lead in shots, while drawing three free kicks from around 25 yards outside the box.