Saturday, January 23, 2021
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UMKC overtime heartbreaker vs Air Force

UMKC Men’s Soccer saw its season come to an end Saturday afternoon, falling into overtime 2-1 against the Air Force Falcons.

The game started as a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, with neither able to hold much momentum.

The Roo’s best, early chance came in the 13th minute, as a deep shot from senior forward Eric McWoods came just left of the goal. The Falcons responded a minute later with a shot on goal from midfielder Danny Han, but it was saved by UMKC goalkeeper Filippo Errico.
With seven minutes remaining in the first half, junior forward Pandelis Popgeorgiev weaved through the Air Force defense and fired a shot on goal. The ball made its way through the hands of the Falcon’s goalkeeper and snuck across the goal-line, giving the Roos a 1-0 lead.

At halftime, UMKC recognized its four seniors who were playing their last match in a Roo uniform: Chris Betancourt, Nick Cramer, Eddie Howe and Eric McWoods.

The Falcons found more success offensively to begin the second half, but diving saves from goalkeeper Errico in the 53rd and 54th minute kept the Roos in front.

Sophomore defender Giacomo Caruso. (Source: Dasia Chavis).
Sophomore defender Giacomo Caruso.
(Source: Dasia Chavis).

After a handball in the penalty box, Falcon forward Austin Dewing converted on a penalty kick in the 57th minute to level the game at 1-1.

The rest of the half saw both teams exchanging scoring opportunities, but the Roo and Falcon defenses held strong.

A display of good ball movement between UMKC midfielder Christian Anderaos, Popgeorgiev and McWoods ended in an unsuccessful cross into the box in the 59th minute.

With 12 minutes remaining, a shot into the upper 90 from Falcons midfielder Nestor Hernandez was tipped away by Filippo Errico.

After both teams were unable to capitalize in the final minutes of regulation, the game headed into overtime.
A shot from Air Force midfielder Jaric Morton found the back of the net in the ninth minute of the first extra period, giving the Falcons a 2-1 victory and bringing UMKC’s season to an end.

The Roos gave their all against a nationally ranked Air Force squad, who entered the game 13-1-3 and undefeated in conference play.

UMKC finished the year with a 5-10-3 record and a 3-7 mark in the Western Athletic Conference.

Head coach Rick Benben was proud of his team’s performance on Saturday.

“Overall we played pretty well. It was a very close game, but it’s been like that for us the past six weeks where it could go either way,” Benben said.

Although he had hoped for better results this season, Benben wanted to look beyond that.

“We played at a high level all year, and we have a lot of excellent newcomers and have had two years in a row of good development,” he said.

Benben acknowledged that his team will greatly miss senior forward Eric McWoods, who finished with a career season for the Roos.

The captain led the team in goals (11), points (25) and shots on goal (34).

McWoods will go down in the record books for the men’s team, tying for third-most in the program’s history in goals, points, and shots.

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