Late First-Half Goal Leads GSU to 1-0 Win in Exhibition Finale

Aug. 23, 2014

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky men's soccer team dropped an exhibition match 1-0 to Georgia State on Saturday evening at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex.
 
The difference came just before the half as Georgia State capitalized on a UK turnover at midfield with a strike from distance on 44 minutes.

From there the visitors hung on, as they sat back throughout the second half with UK out-shooting them 12-0 after halftime.

"We really worked the guys hard this week with two-a-day practices," head coach Johan Cedergren said. "You can tell at times today that we were a little heavy-legged which is okay because now we can start focusing on next Friday, and getting ready for the first game of the season. It's been a good preseason, lots of quality.

"We played a lot of guys today, and you can tell that yes we're young. We started with only one junior, everyone else was a sophomore or freshman. But to me age is just a number. It's about ability, quality and trying to get these guys to learn as quickly as possible to make sure we have a successful fall."

The Wildcats had the better of possession and outshot their opponents 19-5 overall, but they could not break through.

Georgia State strung together a run of passes right after the opening whistle, but UK found its way into the game soon after that.

The Wildcats spurned a few half-chances throughout the opening 20 minutes, notably a snap shot by Charlie Reymann off a nice turn inside the box.

UK goalie Stuart Ford - starting for the second straight game in place of first-team All-Conference USA keeper Callum Irving due to minor injury - was called into action on 39 minutes as he saved a point-blank header off the corner.

Nonetheless, Georgia State drew first blood just before the half. Stephen McGill collected on the edge of the 18-yard box off a UK turnover, and his shot traveled across the face of the goal and into the top-right corner of the net to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage.

UK began asking more questions of the Georgia State back line early in the second half.  

The Wildcats earned a penalty on 55 minutes as Napo Matsoso hit the cross bar and Justin Laird's follow-up was handled by a visiting defender in the box.

Kristopher Tollefsen hit his penalty low and hard, but Georgia State goalkeeper  CJ  Cochran was equal to the task, pushing the ball out for a corner kick.

Indeed Cochran produced a man of the match performance, as he turned away a number of close range efforts, especially in the second half, as he finished with eight saves.

Saturday's match was Kentucky's first at the Bell Soccer Complex. The Wildcats will begin the regular season on Friday at Wright State.

Kentucky's first home match of the regular season will come next Sunday at 5 p.m. as the second portion of a double-header featuring both the UK men's and women's teams. Sunday's matches will serve as the grand opening of the state of the art Bell Soccer Complex.