Matsoso Scores Brace and Assists in 3-1 Win at Evansville
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Napo Matsoso scored the opener, assisted the second and then sealed the result with a 90th-minute finish as No. 15/9 Kentucky defeated Evansville 3-1 Wednesday.
Charlie Reymann added two assists, while JJ Williams scored his first career goal, and combined with Reymann to assist Matsoso’s second.
Kentucky extended its unbeaten run to five-straight matches, a run that includes four wins and a draw. Two of those wins (v New Mexico and Charlotte) came against ranked opponents.
The Wildcats improved to a 2016 record of won 7, lost 2, drew 2 (2-1-0 Conference USA) ahead of a trip to league foe UAB Saturday. Evansville dropped to 6-5-1.
Napo Matsoso's third goal of the year. Tied with Noah Hutchins for the team high. pic.twitter.com/ogMxcJrT30— Kentucky Mens Soccer (@UKMensSoccer) October 6, 2016
Kentucky’s midfield maestro opened the scoring a quarter of an hour in when Evansville was unable to fully clear a Connor Probert set piece.
Matsoso reset the offense with a trademarked gyrating turn atop the box and found Landon Souder on the left. The defender turned two Evansville defenders and then sprayed the ball rightward where Matsoso was first to meet it. There, Evansville goalkeeper Matthew Keller was no match for the Preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year’s finishing prowess as Matsoso beat him to the near post.
Williams doubled Kentucky’s advantage in the 73rd minute. Again it was Matsoso pulling the strings as he collected a ball centrally from Williams and switched the field wide for Reymann who whipped a cross into the box. Williams headed into the ground as it bounced over Keller’s reach into the left corner.
Ian McGrath pulled one back for the hosts with seven minutes to play, using a nifty backheel finish to redirect a Simon Waever cross from the byline.
But with Evansville wide open while pushing for an equalizer, Kentucky looked the more likely side in the match’s dying moments.
The Wildcats were unable to put away their dangerous counterattacks in the last five minutes until 10 seconds remained.
Reymann cleared from a scrum at the edge of the box with a long ball along the left channel, where the Evansville right back fell in his pursuit of JJ Williams. Williams squared the ball to a wide open Matsoso waiting atop the box where he took a touch to the penalty spot and tucked beyond the Evansville keeper into the right corner.
Goal -Kentucky. Matsoso scores his second of night to seal the result with 10 second to play. Assists - Williams, Reymann. UK 3-1 UE (90') pic.twitter.com/mdkUrQbLPt— Kentucky Mens Soccer (@UKMensSoccer) October 6, 2016
“It was a good team performance,” Reymann said. “We’re happy with three goals, and looking forward to the next game now. Road games are always tough – we’ve got a lot of games in a short amount of days. Defensively we try to stay strong. That’s what we focus on – especially away games when teams are coming at us feeling comfortable on their field. That’s important to us – give up few goals and take our chances when we get them.
“Napo showed again why he’s one of the best midfielders in the country. Although he hasn’t been scoring as many goals, he’s still getting and creating chances. It’s good for his confidence and good for the team’s confidence that he’s scoring goals. We count on him to open things up offensively.”
Matsoso now has a team-high four goals. Reymann has the team lead with five assists, with Matsoso one behind. Reymann leads C-USA in assists.
Kentucky improved to 2-2 on the road this season. Kentucky is 2-1 in non-conference road matches. Wednesday’s match was the Wildcats’ last non-conference away match.
Kentucky allowed its sixth goal of the season, the second from the run of play.
Kentucky scored multiple goals in a game for the first time since winning 4-0 in the opener.
Kentucky goalkeeper Stuart Ford’s goals-against average – eighth best nationally entering Wednesday – increased .05 points to 0.51.
Kentucky won its third in a row against Evansville to take a 6-4 advantage in the all-time series.
The next one
Kentucky will head to UAB for a Saturday 8 p.m. ET kickoff.
The match will streamed on CUSA.TV.