Back-to-back victories Friday night and Sunday afternoon helped the UT men’s soccer team improve their record to 3-1 this season. Wednesday night’s match against Barry was rescheduled to Thursday, and then cancelled with a score of 2-2 when technical difficulties twice plunged the field into darkness.
Clevon George lit up the field Friday against the Flagler Saints, starting the Spartan offense by scoring his first goal of the season.
Though several of Tampa’s starting players remain unable to play, the teamwork and communication on the field is uncompromised. The men dominated control of the ball through better handling and keeping the ball moving, working as one charging unit.
“We had a tremendous team effort,” Coach Adrian Bush said about Friday’s game. “A spectacular performance from our whole unit.”
Ricardo Cardoso assisted Ryan Maxwell to another goal before Maxwell was injured in the second half, and did not return to play on Sunday. Goalkeeper Kevin St. John made a diving save in the second half to keep Flagler scoreless as time ran out. He was then lifted on the shoulders of elated teammates after the game.
The momentum carried into Sunday’s game against the Christian Brothers Buccaneers.
Despite the noontime heat, the Spartans hustle kept the ball in Buccaneer zone with the chance of capitalizing on four corner kicks in the first half.
Momentum shifted at the end of the half but St. John and the Tampa defense kept the game scoreless into the second half.
Earlier in the first, Ricardo Cardoso, an instrumental part of the Tampa offense, came off the field with a possible shoulder injury.
Dan Bergstrand also showed signs of a wrist injury, but returned to play in the second half. Ricardo returned to play, but as time ticked down, the Buccaneers grabbed a 1-0 lead even though Tampa was outshooting them six shots on goal to two in the second half.
The Spartan offense did not repeat the late half slacking.
A perfect lob pass nearly fifty yards in length from Kevin Sierra landed at the feet of Ricardo Cardoso who then weaved through oncoming defenders to tie the game in the 88th minute.
A five-minute break leading into ten minute overtime held both teams playing at the top of their game.
A charging Spartan offense forced a handball in the keeper’s box allowing for Cardoso to set up a penalty kick. Cardoso read the keeper correctly giving Tampa an emotional 2-1 victory over the Christian Brothers.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” said Bush. “There was no questioning who to put on the ball.”
The Spartans don’t return home again until Sept. 29 when they face Lynn. They have four straight road games.