BOCA RATON, Fla.- Despite valiant efforts put forth in the first half, the Jacksonville men’s soccer team fell to Florida Atlantic, 2-1, on Friday night.
“We played well tonight” said Head Coach Ryan Pratt. “Well enough to get a more favorable result. We have to continue improving and eliminating critical mistakes that lead to goals. Our guys played very well tonight and played their hearts out. We have to put this game behind us and get ready for a good FIU team Sunday night.”
Playing a team ranked first in their conference may intimidate others but the Dolphins journeyed to Boca Raton prepared and ready to compete. Senior Nick Rodriguez steered JU’s offensive attack and was determined to put the Dolphins on the board early; eight minutes into the first half the midfielder gave JU a 1-0 lead. The hustle play started with freshman forward Kacper Grzeszczak who ran down the left flank and traveled deep in the corner. Grzeszczak then dropped a pass to freshman midfielder Jack Burns who played a cross in the box finding Rodriguez for a 6-yard header.
Though generally a low shooting team, FAU felt the pressure to score after being put in a position they haven’t been in all season- trailing in the first half. JU held the Owls to just two shots in the first 40 minutes of play before a goal in 42nd allowed them to tie the game, 1-1.
The second half saw a role reversal between the two teams as the Dolphins were limited to only one shot in the period. While the Dolphins had an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks, four of them occurring in a two-minute span, the team weren’t able to connect for a goal. With 53:20 on the clock, FAU scored the game-winner on a ball sent over the head of keeper Marc Meny.
Nick Rodriguez led the Dolphins in both shots and shots on goal on the night with 3 and 2, respectively. In the loss, JU falls to 1-3-1 and the Owls improve to 4-0-1.
Jacksonville continues its Florida travels on Sunday, Sept. 22 as they face FIU at 6 p.m.
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