Nov. 9, 2013
CHICAGO – The UIC men’s soccer team honored its seniors Saturday by coming away with a 2-1 win against Green Bay at Flames Field for its 15th regular-season win, a program best. Sophomore Jorge Alvarez scored the go-ahead goal in the 84th minute as the Flames captured their ninth-straight win to end the regular season with an unblemished 7-0-0 Horizon League record.
UIC improves to 15-3-0 overall, with a perfect 7-0-0 record in the Horizon League to mark the most conference wins in program history, in addition to the first undefeated season against conference opponents. Green Bay goes to 7-7-3 on the season and 2-4-1 in the Horizon League.
"When you go into post-season play, you always want to be feeling good about yourself and there is no better way to do it than by getting a win," head coach Sean Phillips said. "We had moments of concentration lost today, partly from ourselves but also because Green Bay is a good team. They have two extremely talented attacking weapons that you have to invest so much time and energy into that it does take away from parts of your game, and it took us the first half to get that sorted out."
The Flames had to battle in the first half to find and keep possession and create their chances. Junior Jesus Torres fired off three shots to contribute to the Flames’ total of nine, as the Phoenix made three attempts with two coming from Audi Jepson.
UIC came out in the second half with urgency and collected the first goal in the 55th minute when freshman Joel Leon netted his first career goal with assists from Alvarez and sophomore Joel Salmeron. After making several attempts, Green Bay was able tie the game after AJ Patterson shot the ball in off the crossbar in the 79th minute.
"The nice thing is that this group, in the second half, looked like we solved the problems Green Bay was presenting," added Phillips. "We got the goal and we had a couple of other chances to make it 2-0, but there is a reason Green Bay has not been shut out often this year and they proved it again today that they are a great attacking team."
Following the Phoenix’s Jordan Dover’s ejection in the 82nd minute after receiving his second yellow card of the game, the Flames made a quick turnaround and Alvarez headed in a pass from senior Aris Zafeiratos in the 84th minute for his fourth goal of the season and the game-winner.
Freshman goalkeeper Andrew Putna was forced to make four saves during the contest for a .770 save percentage this season, while allowing one goal for a 0.76 GAA. Green Bay’s freshman goalkeeper Kyle Ihn made five saves off the Flames’ 22 attempts, seven of which were on goal.
"It was a good team effort and the guys found a way to win," said Phillips. "I think the biggest thing was that it was good to get a win against a good opponent going into the playoffs, because everyone is 0-0-0 starting Friday. For this group to get to where they want to go, we are going to have to be 1-0 on Friday and 1-0 on Sunday, and the games just get tougher and tougher as we go forward."
With the final regular-season game under their belts, the Flames will now wait to host the semifinals and final rounds of the Horizon League Championship at Flames Field beginning Friday, Nov. 15.
Check back to UICFlames.com for further updates on the tournament schedule.