The Flames men’s soccer team played two outstanding games on Wednesday and Saturday, defeating Radford University 3-0 and Winthrop 1-0. From the outset of Wednesday’s game, Head Coach Jeff Alder looked to capitalize on the Flames speed and teamwork.
“What we wanted to do was move the ball extremely fast,” Alder said. “We’ll be able to stretch their defense wide and created a lot of opportunities.”
And create they did. By moving the ball across the field, the Flames kept most of the action in Radford’s territory. That allowed the Flames offensive strikers to keep pressure on the Radford defense.
The first goal came from a shot by sophomore midfielder Juan Guzman. The second goal came with 15 minutes left in the half from senior defender Mike Gelatt.
Radford did not have an offensive answer to the Flames defense, having only eight shots on goal to Liberty’s 12. The Flames received no penalties, but Radford had two yellow cards, and their goalie received a red card after arguing with a referee for almost a minute.
The only free kick of the game came in the 13th minute of the first half. Senior forward Adrian Bumbut scored the final goal in the last minute. Freshman goalie Paul Gilbert had three saves and an overall easy day thanks to the rest of his team. Radford did have opportunities to score with six corner kicks throughout the game. The victory moved the Flames record to 5-1-1 on the year.
On Saturday the Flames took on Big South opponent Winthrop University in front of a crowd of 420 for family weekend.
Coach Alder stated he wanted to take a different approach to this game. “I wanted the guys to play very organized.” Alder said. “I want them to play with poise under duress and show discipline.”
The game was a hard-fought defensive struggle but the Flames got the better of the opposing team. Bumbut provided the lone goal in the contest. It came off a free kick just outside the box into the left inside corner of the goal.
Liberty led the contest in shots on goal, with 10 to Winthrop’s eight. Gilbert played another great game, compiling four saves. Winthrop did not play with much poise, having 15 fouls called on them, including 10 in the second period in an attempt to come from behind. The Flames were not perfect in the penalty department either, picking up 10 fouls and going offsides five times.
The Liberty defense held well and helped the team come away with the 1-0 conference win. Though happy with the way his team played, Coach Alder still knows his team has some things to work on.
“We kept missing opportunities that we had, and we need to find a way to get that second goal. It seems everyone is chasing the ball.”
As the Flames continue their impressive play, they advance closer to capturing the Big South title. Liberty, now 6-1-1 on the season, will face one of its toughest challenges as the team travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on the University of North Carolina Tarheels on Oct. 2. The Flames then return home on Saturday Oct. 6 to play Marshall. Game time is set for 1 p.m.