Nicholas Keown-Robson scored twice while the UCF men’s soccer team did not allow a shot on goal in a 4-0 victory over Florida Atlantic Monday. The Knights (2-0-0) have yet to allow a goal in their first two games of the season after defeating Jacksonville, 5-0, in their opener last week.
“We didn’t come out as focused as we would have liked, but during the (35-minute lightning break in the first half) the players knew they were capable of more,” said head coach Bryan Cunningham. “And to get that first goal before halftime I think really propelled us in the second half. We’ve scored nine goals in two games, and we didn’t even give up a shot on goal today so we have been able to execute our game plan.”
The Knights racked up nine corner kicks compared to two by FAU (0-2-0), and they also led in overall shots, 13-5, with seven of those 13 attempts on goal. UCF keeper Shawn Doyle played the full 90 minutes for the shutout win.
UCF’s best opportunity in the first 20 minutes came in the 17th minute when FAU keeper Jeremy Crumpton stopped a potential crossing pass from entering the box. However the Knights kept at it and seconds later had a cornucopia of chances, including A.J. Nelson who eventually had a great look at the net from 12 yards out only to have Crumpton make the stop.
As the Knights continued to keep the FAU backline working hard, lightning forced the match to be delayed with 11:38 remaining in the half. After approximately a 35-minute delay, both teams returned to the field with a steady rainfall blanketing the campus.
As soon as the match resumed, the Knights’ attack finally capitalized. In the 35th minute, the Owls failed to clear the ball from the box and Warren Creavalle took over at an extreme angle and sent a shot just inside the far right post for a1-0 UCF lead.
And UCF would not be slowed up by the halftime break. Finding a passing lane, Spencer Scott sent it over to Eduardo Jimenez on the right side and as Crumpton came out of the net, Jimenez worked a cross into the box. Waiting in perfect position, Robson blasted a shot from the top of 18 into the open net, doubling UCF’s advantage.
With a 2-0 cushion, UCF maintained control as the second-half clock ticked away, not allowing the Owls any sustained offensive pressure. The Knights’ defensive pressure translated into several scoring opportunities in the final 15 minutes of play.
FAU’s Crumpton was issued a red card in the 81st minute, taking down Luiz Yamashita in the box. Yamashita came in on goal after a through ball split two Owl defenders. With Crumpton taken off, new goalkeeper James McCormick entered the game with the unenviable task of facing a penalty shot in his first action of the season. Robson promptly stepped up and easily converted for his second marker of the game and third of the season.
Just over five minutes later, the Black and Gold made it a four-goal game with the final tally of the contest. Nelson scored his first of the season into an open net following a well-time centering pass from Scott on the right side. Scott corralled a long through ball from Yaron Bacher at midfield before putting the ball on the foot of Scott for the fourth and final goal.
A five-match road trip now awaits the Knights as they kick it off this weekend when they travel to the UNC-Wilmington Tournament. UCF will first take on the host school Friday at 7:30 p.m. before meeting Long Island Sunday at noon.