Matsoso’s Brace Leads #14/12 Kentucky Past FAU

Box Score

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Senior midfielder Napo Matsoso showcased his tremendous individual skill on two goals to make the difference in the No. 14/12 Kentucky men’s soccer team’s 2-1 win at Florida Atlantic Wednesday.

Matsoso scored in the fourth minute to open the scoring, but needed to put his team ahead again in the 59th minute after FAU converted a penalty on 17 minutes.

Kentucky improved to won 10, lost 3, drew 2 (4-2-1 Conference USA) this season. Kentucky is third in the league on 12 points with two match days remaining.

Charlotte defeated South Carolina Wednesday, and tops the table on 15 points. South Carolina, which UK will play next week, is second with 13 points.

The goals
Both goals came off corner kicks, which the hosts failed to clear.

Matsoso took the first corner, and collected a deflection along the left wing. He beat an onrushing FAU defender on the dribble, cut inside and curled a shot across the face of goal into the right side-netting.

The tables had turned from Kentucky’s previous two C-USA road matches of the season, when Kentucky had conceded inside the first 10 minutes both times. 

Wednesday, with winds gusting to 30 miles per hour rather regularly, Kentucky led after four minutes.

But the Wildcats’ advantage lasted just 13 minutes when FAU was awarded, and converted, a penalty.

After dominating the opening 10 minutes of the match, FAU’s work to find its way into the match had paid off in quick succession. The Wildcats had the better of the run of play for the balance of the first 45 minutes, but few clear-cut chances.

Matsoso showed his acumen as one of the nation’s best once again just before the hour mark, however.

Charlie Reymann took a corner from the right side, and after it pinged around in the 18-yard box, Connor Probert volleyed it back atop the box to his waiting co-captain.

Matsoso popped the ball over a defenders’ head and then volleyed a bouncing shot in at the near post.

Ahead for a second time, Kentucky’s defense – which entered Wednesday with the nation’s No. 6-ranked goals-against average – wasn’t going concede from there.

Indeed the Wildcats looked the more likely side over the course of the match’s last half-hour, with Grant Mook hitting the post in the 85th minute as the best chance from a flurry of them.

The quote
“This definitely gave a boost to our attitude,” Matsoso said. “(Kentucky head coach) Johan (Cedergren) talked to us before the game about how we couldn’t start the way we did the last couple of games away from home. Everybody had the right mentality to start the game – that helped us calm down a little bit to control the game, even after we conceded an equalizer.”

The notes
Matsoso scored his team-best fifth and sixth goals of the season.

He ranks fifth in C-USA in goals scored, and sixth in points (16 – six goals, four assists).

Kentucky has now won 10 games for the third season in a row.

Kentucky has scored 21 goals and conceded nine this season. In league play the Wildcats have scored eight and conceded five. All the goals UK has conceded to C-USA opponents came on the road.

FAU dropped to 4-8-1 (2-4 C-USA).

Kentucky improved to 4-0-1 against FAU all-time. Kentucky won its second straight in the series, with the only draw having come in UK’s last trip to FAU, two years ago.

Kentucky’s goals-against average increased to .566.

Kentucky officially clinched a spot in the seven-team C-USA Tournament, to be played Nov. 9-13 at Marshall.

The setup
Kentucky held at No. 14 in this week’s NSCAA coaches’ poll and moved up two spots to No. 12 in this week’s NCAA Rating Percentage Index.

Kentucky head coach Johan Cedergren named a starting 11 unchanged from the side that defeated Bowling Green 1-0 in overtime, last Tuesday.

Kentucky entered Wednesday’s match 2-3 away from The Bell this season. UK won its 2016 opener 4-0 at Marquette and won at Evansville, earlier this month, but the Cats had lost their previous two C-USA road matches – at Florida International and UAB.

Kentucky did arrive in Boca on a two-match winning streak, and was 6-1-1 in its last eight outings.

The next one
Kentucky will conclude the home portion of its 2016 schedule with a senior day matchup against Marshall Sunday at 7 p.m.

UK’s six seniors – who have played central roles in lifting the UK program to new heights from their sophomore year on – will be honored prior to the match.

The match will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. 

Tickets are $5 for the general public and $2 for youth and seniors. Fans can purchase tickets online via Ticketmaster or by calling (800) 928-2287, or at the ticket window at The Bell.

Kentucky’s 600-plus season ticket holders can wear their 2016 Kentucky Soccer scarves to gain admission.

Parking for the match is first come first served located outside the stadium’s main entrance. Overflow parking will be available above the soccer practice pitch.

The best coverage of UK men's soccer is available via UKMensSoccer handles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.