The UMKC Men’s Soccer team pushed their unbeaten streak to four games after a 1-1 double overtime draw against the Memphis Tigers on Friday night.
The first half consisted of back and forth defense, with UMKC not having a single shot on goal, and Memphis only having two. After some half time adjustments by head coach Rick Benben, UMKC started moving the ball down field more in hopes of taking the lead.
“He told us that he wanted us to press the other team and keep the ball on their half,” junior Forward Pandeli Popgeoriev said. At the 71 minute mark, Popgeorgiev took the opportunity to capitalize off a penalty kick to give UMKC a 1-0 lead. “I was confident about it,” Popgeorgiev said. “I felt this was my chance to make it.”
The lead did not last long as the crowd went silent after a penalty kick was rewarded to Memphis with less than two minutes left in the game. After Memphis made the shot, the game was sent into double overtime where sophomore Goalie Filippo Errico made key defensive saves to keep UMKC from losing.
Towards the end of double overtime, tensions were at an all-time high, as a scuffle between the teams broke out with less than a minute to go. In the first period of action, only one yellow card was issued to Memphis. By the end of the game, Memphis had four yellow cards and UMKC had three.
The penalty shot made by Memphis was the first goal allowed by UMKC all season. The previous three games UMKC played relied heavily on defense, especially from Errico, who won the WAC Defensive Player of the Week honors last Monday.
“We all work together,” said Errico. Before Friday’s tie, UMKC had outscored their opponents 5-0 over the course of three games.
Despite giving up the lead and ending in a draw, UMKC remains the only team undefeated in the Western Athletic Conference with a record of 2-0-2, two wins and two draws. “Being undefeated at this point of the season is a nice thing but we don’t have to watch the results,” Errico said. “Our goal is to be successful for the end of the season.
UMKC takes on Milwaukee on the road this Tuesday, Sep. 12 before returning home on Saturday, Sep. 16 for another home stand at Durwood Stadium where they will take on Western Illinois and Missouri State.