Match Report: UK Men's Soccer Held to Scoreless Draw at FAU

By Jacob Most
Sept. 27, 2014-

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - The UK men's soccer team was played to a 0-0 draw at Florida Atlantic in a contest that ended after 110 minutes on Saturday.

The draw gave UK a point in the Conference USA table, as Saturday's match was the league-opener for both teams.

UK's record went to 4-3-2 (0-0-1 C-USA), while FAU went to 0-5-2 (0-0-2 C-USA).

"I thought it was a tough one today," UK head coach Johan Cedergren said. "In the conference opener the opponent's record doesn't matter at that point because they are 0-0. I think we started okay, but we kind of got lulled into their pace of play taking a lot of time for everything.

"I think FAU came in with a clear game plan and executed well. They defended their tails off and they were looking for counterattacks. They had a couple of dangerous chances, but for us we are frustrated. A point is not the worst and keeping another clean sheet is very good, but we're a team that prides ourselves in our technical ability. When the guys watch the tape on Monday I think they're going to be ashamed of their performance because that is not the level we expect at the University of Kentucky. They can do so much better than that."

The Wildcats dominated possession, but struggled to create clear-cut chances all night with FAU defending deep looking to break on the counter. The UK back-line was rarely troubled.

UK outshot FAU 8-4 but the Wildcats got three attempts on-target, compared to just one by the Owls.

UK goal keeper Callum Irving - the reigning Disney Soccer/NSCAA Player of the Week and two-time defending C-USA Defensive Player of the Week - picked up his sixth clean sheet of the season and the 13th of his career, moving him into to sole-possession of fifth place in program history.

Kentucky has now allowed just four goals in nine matches this year.

UK's best chance was off a set-piece in the 53rd minute. Napo Matsoso drove one from the right side 22 yards out, but FAU goalie Theo Jamilloux was equal to the task diving to his right to save.

UK's two-most dangerous scoring-opportunities came off direct free kicks as Charlie Reymann also forced a decent save from the keeper on a low dead-ball shot in the first half.

One of UK's more-promising moves in open play came on 70 minutes as Hampus Agerström played a cross from the left flank to Just Laird, but his header went wide.

Neither team created much in the way of chances in either of the two golden-goal overtime periods.

UK is now 4-3-3 all-time record in C-USA lidlifters, and now 2-0-1 all-time against FAU.

FIRST HALF
UK entered the match looking to bounce back from an emotional loss mid-week and shaking off the cobwebs accrued from a full day of air travel on Friday.

The Wildcats seized control of possession from the outset, but seemed to lack that cutting-edge in the final third.

Through 20 minutes neither team had created many chances, with the only real threat coming off a free kick from 20 yards out by Ryan Creel. The UK winger forced a decent save from FAU goalie Theo Jamilloux on a low driven left-footed strike that just snuck under the wall.

As UK continued to struggle to create chances once the ball neared FAU's box, Cedergren made three changes to try and change to game.

Stefan Stojkovic replaced Laird at striker, Sam Miller came on for Creel on the right wing, while Paul Sime was a sub for Kevin Barajas.

The Sime move changed the UK alignment in midfield. Sime partnered Agerstrom as holding midfielder, while Matsoso moved to the central attacking midfield role pushing Celis to the left wing.

The move did not result in much change however, as the half ended with Reymann's shot as the only one in the first 45 for either team.

SETTING THE STAGE
The two teams were meeting for the third time ever, with UK having won both previous times, including by a 6-1 margin last year in Lexington. FAU entered 0-5-1 this season.

UK head coach Johan Cedergren fielded a side with just one change from the squad that faced Louisville mid-week, but from positional-standpoint there were big differences.

Kevin Barajas, who looked lively in some of UK's best chances vs. U of L, came into the team for Kristoffer Tollefsen - who had started all eight of UK's previous games this season, but appeared to pick up a few knocks late on Tuesday night.

The change was not a straight positional one as UK's midfield was shaken up.

Napo Matsoso, often fielded in a drop-striker role this year was asked to help screen the defense alongside Hampus Agerstrom with Bryan Celis - UK's lone-goal scorer mid-week - starting in the central attacking midfield role. Barajas and Ryan Creel started on the left and right wings respectively, while Justin Laird was tasked with being the target man at the head of UK's attack.

UK's back-five of Callum Irving in goal with Charlie Reymann, Jordan Wilson, Kaelon Fox and Matt Quick across from left to right remained unchanged.

UK entered the game with a 4-3-2 all-time record in C-USA lidlifters.

The two teams did enter the match looking to bounce back from losses.

The Wildcats were coming off a loss to No. 8 Louisville on Tuesday Night at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in front of 3,368 fans - a school-record.

FAU lost its last match 3-0 to Mercer in the Marriott Springhill Suites Invitational.