Oct. 8, 2013
CHICAGO – The UIC men’s soccer team endured its first overtime match of the season Tuesday evening at Flames Field while facing Eastern Illinois. After being down one goal, senior Slobodan Aleksov netted a pass from junior Jesus Torres in the 87th minute, and came back in double overtime to score again in the 104th minute to advance the Flames to a 2-1 victory over the Panthers.
UIC is now 8-3-0 this season, with a 5-3-0 record at home, while Eastern Illinois drops to 0-8-2.
"The nice thing about this game is these guys did not let the result go against us, we found a way to get back in the game and then we found a way to get the result," said head coach Sean Phillips.
After leading in shots, 4-1, at the end of 45:00, the Flames kicked up their offensive output starting in the second and fired off eight shots before the Panthers’ Jake Plant scored in the 78th minute. The Flames continued with a strong presence in front of the net and in the 87th minute, Aleksov tied the game with the assist from Torres.
"Eastern Illinois was able to get us going the other way with a very good counter-attack to go up 1-0," said Phillips. "What that created for us was a character check, and the pleasant thing is that our guys responded well and lifted it to another level for those final 13 minutes."
Three shots were taken in the first overtime period, all by Aleksov, and in the 104th minute of the second overtime, Aleksov scored his fourth goal of the season and first game-winner off another assist from Torres. Aleksov ended the match with 12 shots, five of which were on goal, while additional shots on goal were recorded by senior Bob Novak and freshman Rodrigo Salgado.
"I felt it was not going to be a matter of if we scored, but when," Phillips added. "We kept plugging and Jesus Torres came through on both assists, and it was nice to see our senior captain (Slobodan Aleksov) coming through and getting the goal that put us back in and then again in overtime. His work rate today was much more than what we expected and he got rewarded for it, which is good to see."
"The second half tonight, and in the overtimes, I thought we were a bit better," Phillips said. "The Eastern Illinois goalkeeper deserves a lot of credit, a couple of saves he made, especially in the second half, were tremendous. Eastern Illinois executed their game plan on the road, as they sat in and made it difficult for us. If we were not going to have that extra bit of vindictiveness as we went forward, we were not going to break them down."
Freshman goalkeeper Andrew Putna made two saves off the Panthers four total shots during the match, while allowing one goal for a 0.81 GAA this season. Eastern Illinois’ goalkeeper Ben Feltes made five saves and allowed two goals in 103:12 minutes of play.
The Flames return to their Horizon League schedule Saturday, when they head to Detroit, Mich., to take on Detroit at 2 p.m. CT at Titan Field.