LAKELAND, FL – Scoring six goals in the second half, the first two coming less than a minute apart, the Florida Southern men's soccer team opened the 2018 season, and their new home field, with a 6-0 win over Trinity Baptist. The game marked the Moccasins' return to campus after playing the entire 2017 season in Auburndale while Moccasin Field was still under construction.
The Moccasins (1-0) got two goals from sophomore James Meehan in his Florida Southern debut, while another junior college transfer, Ian McIntosh, scored in between. Those three goals came in the 59th, 60th, and 63rd minutes to blow open what had been a scoreless game. Seniors Daniel Moore and Pablo Gallo Arias scored the next two goals, and freshman Will Draper finished the scoring in the 78th minute. Arias also had a pair of assists, as did Taylor Vincent, as the Moccasins recorded their largest opening night win in 17 years.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern dominated the first half by out-shooting Trinity Baptist 13-2. While the Eagles (0-4) never came close to scoring, the Moccasins had several good scoring chances, only to endure a string of near misses. They forced TBC goalkeeper Kyle Aultman into his first save in the fourth minute, and a strong header by Jacob Ling-Vannerus carried just high in the sixth. Ling-Vannerus had two more good shots shortly thereafter, and Georg Michajlov put one a little bit wide in the 17th minute.
- Perhaps the best first-half chance for Florida Southern came in the 44th minute when the Mocs were awarded a free kick in the attacking third. Eneko Lasheras' kick was beautifully placed for a diving header by McIntosh deep inside the box, but it carried just wide of the right post.
- The Mocs put the Eagles under just as much pressure in the second half as the first, but this time the goals came quickly. Meehan broke the deadlock with a running shot that re-directed a free kick by Julian Jordan-Canosa from the left touchline at the 58:45 mark. Then, just 53 seconds later, a cross from Clause Lehland found McIntosh inside the box for a 2-0 lead.
- Meehan made it 3-0 a little over three minutes later on a scoring play that started with defender Jake Starling sending the ball forward to Michajlov in the center of attacking third. Michajlov sent it on for Meehan who converted his second goal of the night.
- Arias played a role in each of the final three goals by assisting the fourth, scoring the fifth, and assisting the sixth. It was his corner kick in the 68th minute, and Vincent's ability to keep the play alive, that led to Moore's goal for a 4-0 lead before he was on the receiving end of a Vincent pass in the 74th for his own tally. Another corner kick by Arias in the 78th set up Draper, who had checked into the game as a substitute less than three minutes earlier.
- Trinity Baptist came close to breaking up the shutout in the closing seconds, but Benny Yusufoglu made a tough save on a header by Carlos Grimaldo to close out the game. It was one of just two saves the sophomore goalkeeper had to make in a game where the Moccasins held a 28-5 edge in shots taken.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Yusufoglu's shutout was the third of his career, and it was the eighth consecutive game dating back to last year in which he and the Moccasins allowed either no goals or one goal. Moore and Starling have been a part of all those games on the back line for Florida Southern, and were joined by junior transfer Anton Lindbom and sophomore Henry Phillips on Thursday.
- The Mocs' 6-0 win was their largest in a season opener since beating Bryant 9-0 in 2001. Their 28 shots were the most since they took 30 in an 8-0 win over Southeastern in 2003.
- Meehan is the 14th player in team history with a brace in his first game, but the first transfer to do that since John Bowman scored twice against Warner in 1985. Both were junior college transfers.
- Arias' goal was the first of his career and his two assists doubled his career total coming into the night. It's the third year in a row that a Moccasin has been involved in three goals in an opening night win. Romain Voirin had two goals and one assist in a 4-1 win over Shorter last year, and Florian Thumm had one goal and two assists in a 5-0 win over Warner in 2016.
- Vincent picked up his first career points with his two assists.
- Ling-Vannerus had seven shots for the Moccasins.
- The Mocs played without their leading scorer from last year, Christoph Gums, and one of their two starting center backs from a year ago, Foster Appiah.
- Thursday night marked the first time Florida Southern had ever faced Trinity Baptist.
Florida Southern will be on the road Saturday night for a 7 p.m. match at South Carolina-Aiken.