Spartanburg, S.C. – Two early goals spelled the difference in the match as Florida Gulf Coast took a 3-0 victory over USC Upstate in A-Sun men's soccer action Sunday afternoon at County University Soccer Stadium.
Upstate stands 0-7-2 overall and 0-2-1 with one point in the A-Sun. The Spartans will travel to take on Jacksonville Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. FGCU improved to 6-5-1 overall and 4-0-0 with 12 points in the league.
FGCU struck early in the match, opening a 1-0 lead in the third minute. Rodrigo Saravia played a long ball forward to Isiah Madrid. Madrid took the ball down the right side of the box on a 2-on-1 with Upstate keeper Hassan El-Haddad. El-Haddad charged off his line and Madrid fired a shot to the left of El-Haddad and into the left side of the net from 12 yards out.
FGCU made it a 2-0 lead in the 13th minute on a give-and-go with Xavier Silva and David Robledo. Robledo was at the top of the box and laid a pass off to the right where Silva put the shot away into the left portion of the goal.
After the early FGCU goals, Upstate settled into the game for the remainder of the first half. The Spartan defense stiffened and only allowed one Eagle shot the rest of the half. FGCU went into the intermission with a 2-0 lead and a 4-2 advantage in shots.
Upstate continued its theme of increasing its offensive production in the second half and outshot FGCU over the final 45 minutes of play.
Upstate's best opportunity for a goal so far in the game came in the 65th minute when Marvin Schmiege was in the middle of the field about 20 yards out. He laid off a pass to Taylor Scarlera on the right side of the box. Scalera's left-footed shot was saved by FGCU keeper Danny George.
Skylar Wilkes nearly increased FGCU's lead in the 69th minute. Wilks was played a cross about 19 yards out and his shot was blocked. However, the ball came right back to him and with space, he took a shot that hit the crossbar and went over the goal for a goal kick.
Derek Dearmond nearly got Upstate within a goal in the 77th minute, but a matter of inches kept the Spartans scoreless. Matt Flynn took a corner kick and sent a cross toward the goal mouth. Dearmond was there for the header, but his shot hit the crossbar and before the ball could come down, George was there to punch it away for FGCU.
FGCU added to its lead in the 85th minute. Isaac Urcuyo played a through ball to Madrid shaded on the left side. Madrid's shot from the left got by El-Haddad and into the net for a 3-0 Eagle lead.
Upstate continued to battle and placed a couple of shots on goal in the 88th minute. Dave Musambi gained possession and created space inside the box and hammered a shot from eight yeards out that hit the post. The ball richoceted to the right side of the box and Spencer Woodstock's shot was saved to keep the Spartans scoreless.
Despite falling to FGCU, Upstate managed to rally in the second half and even the shot total in the match to 11-11, outshooting the Eagles 9-7 in the second half. George finished the game with five saves, while El-Haddad had one.