No. 20 UK Defeats Evansville 4-1 for Fifth-Straight Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior midfielder Napo Matsoso had a hand in all four goals, scoring one and assisting the other three as the No. 20 Kentucky men’s soccer team flew past Evansville, 4-1 on Wednesday at The Bell.
The win was Kentucky’s fifth in a row, moving the Wildcats to 7-2-1 this season.
Kevin Barajas broke the deadlock on 25 minutes volleying a rebound past Evansville keeper Greg Niven., who couldn’t fully deal with a great strike from Matsoso. The MAC Hermann Watch List member used great technical ability to avoid defenders over 40 yards and launch a 20-yard shot on frame that was parried by Niven only as far as Barajas found the back of the net for the second time in his career. The sophomore also scored at Evansville last season.
Just before the stroke of halftime, Matsoso doubled Kentucky’s, this time with a 30-yard strike into the far right upper-90. Xahne Reid and Charlie Reymann collaborated on some lovely buildup in midfield before finding Matsoso who just needed a bit of space to hit yet another venomous strike from distance. He has four goals this season, with three of them of the “golazo” variety.
After the break, Kentucky’s Sam Miller charted his second-career goal, and first since 2013, in the 57th minute to put UK up 3-0. Matsoso played the ball from the center of midfield to a waiting Miller along the right flank. He took two touches to beat his defender and then beat Niven far post for the 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats added another in the 67th minute as Stefan Stojkovic scored his fourth goal of the season and first of the night to make it 4-0. The ball was poorly cleared by the Purple Aces defense, and fed right to the feet of a waiting Matsoso, who played a through ball to Stojkovic who slotted past the keeper to make it 4-0.
The assist was Matsoso’s third of the night to complement his goal, marking a five-point night for the junior.
Evansville would score its only goal of the match on a penalty in the 72nd minute.
"It was a good team win for us," co-captain Charlie Reymann said. "We came in with a winning streak and we just wanted to keep that going. Offensively four different guys scored so it's always good to get a lot of guys on the score sheet."
Evansville’s goal broke UK’s 404-minute and 25-second scoreless streak, which spanned the duration of four matches plus more than two halves in the bookend matches.
Stojkovic’s goal was his fifth from the last four matches. The reigning C-USA Player of the Week’s four-match scoring streak ties for the fourth longest in program history.
UK still sits atop the Conference USA table with a perfect nine points through three matches. Evansville fell to 2-8 on the season and 0-2 in the Missouri Valley.
UK returns to the pitch in a week against the Ohio State Buckeyes at 7 p.m. ET. The match is deemed a “blackout” with black t-shirts being distributed, as well as free admission to all fans that come to the match wearing black.
Kentucky won its second in a row against Evansville to take a 5-4 advantage in the all-time series.