BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Saint Leo University men’s soccer team was eyeing an upset over second-ranked Lynn University in Sunshine State Conference action on Saturday afternoon, but the Lions could not overcome a two-goal second half from the hosts as they fell 3-2 to the Fighting Knights.
Looking to gain another three points in conference and jump to the top of the SSC, the Lions jumped out in the 16th minute off of a beautiful header goal from Jonathan Glenn, who caught the Lynn defense asleep. The ball was originally pushed into the Lynn area by Eusebio Montoya, but he was tripped up and dispossessed of the ball by a Lynn player. The free ball was picked up in the corner and crossed into the box where Glenn jumped up and pushed it into the net.
For almost the entire first half the Lions had Lynn back on their heels but things would change on a questionable call in the 43rd minute when the head referee ruled that Saint Leo goalkeeper Griffin Pharr had obstructed Lynn’s Jean Alexandre in a 1-on-1 opportunity. Lynn was awarded the penalty and Lee Porter hit it home to tie the score at the half.
The match stayed knotted for 19 minutes into the second stanza until Lynn struck for the second goal when Gabe Taboada received a give-and-go pass from Alexandre that he struck past Pharr and just inside the right post to give LU the lead.
Things really looked bleak for the Lions in the final seven minutes as they saw Lynn extend their lead to 3-1 on a Kyle Conrad goal when he worked past a Lions defense that was looking to press up the field to find the equalizer. Instead Conrad pushed the Fighting Knights lead to two goals.
The Lions were not giving up, even though they were facing a two-goal deficit with nearly six minutes to play. As they had done in the first half after Lynn’s first goal when Glenn hit the crossbar less than a minute later; the Lions pushed the ball into the Lynn area where Montoya was pulled down, giving SLU a penalty. Bruce Cutler would convert the kick to put the Lions within one.
Unfortunately, that was as close as SLU would get, falling by that lone-goal deficit.
Pharr had an outstanding day in goal as he made nine saves, many coming on point-blank shots or one-on-one opportunities.
The Fighting Knights’ Adam Alcock faced four shots and made two saves in the victory while Saint Leo and Lynn combined for 25 fouls and seven cautions in the hard-fought conference match.
The Lions will now regroup and face Nova Southeastern in their final regular-season conference tilt of 2008. Kickoff for this crucial SSC match is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night at University Field.