A strong first half performance and two goals in the last four minutes of the match led the New Mexico Men’s Soccer Team (7-3-1, C-USA 2-1-1) to a 3-1 victory over Florida Atlantic University (1-9-0, C-USA 1-4-0) on Saturday Night in Albuquerque.
The Lobos wasted no time coming out of the gate and immediately started putting pressure on the FAU defense. They controlled the majority of the possession and had numerous chances to put themselves in the lead but failed to convert. In the 15th minute, they had three back-to-back chances and even hit the post but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
It appeared that Luke Lawrence put the Lobos ahead in the 37th minute, but the goal was called back for offsides. Finally, with nine minutes left in the half, Devin Boyce played a free kick into the box, and Matthew Constant made a goal with his head. It was exactly the sort of performance that head coach Jeremy Fishbein was looking for.
“I thought we were tremendous in the first half, to be ahead 1-0 probably wasn’t an indication of how well we played and the chances we created,” Fishbein said.
The Lobos started the second half slowly, and FAU was able to take advantage. The Owls equalized in the 59th minute with a Carlos Sanchis goal from the top of the box, one that coach Fishbein thought was a bit soft.
“We gave up a disappointing goal; I don’t know what happened,” Fishbein said. “I think Jason (Beaulieu) was a little bit screened, luckily that’s not going to haunt us, because we got the result.”
From there, the Lobos had the majority of the possession, but weren’t able to generate many shots.
Things seemed to change for the Lobos with about 20 minutes remaining in the game following a pause due to an injury. From there, New Mexico regained some the attacking edge they had in the first half and had a number of chances. In the 87th minute, Boyce placed a corner kick into the box, and a foul was called on FAU, as players fought for the ball in the box. The call gave the Lobos a penalty kick that Aaron Herrera converted into the lower right corner to give UNM the 2-1 lead.
With less than a minute left, Boyce scored a goal of his own, slotting the ball into the same corner Herrera scored just minutes earlier, ignoring the instructions from his teammates and coaches to waste time in the corner. Boyce never doubted that the Lobos would have the opportunities they needed to win the game.
“Coming out of halftime, we thought we had a good game plan coming into things, and then they came out really energized. I think it just took us settling down, getting on the ball and start moving it around for us to know that and be confident that we were going to take the game over. I don’t think there was a point in time even after they tied it up that we weren’t sure that we would have opportunities to win. It was good,” Boyce said.
The Lobos move to 7-3-1 on the season and 2-1-1 in conference play. They’ll play again in Albuquerque on Saturday, Oct. 14 against UAB at 7 p.m.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.