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Liberty Stops Radford 2-1 in Season Opener

August 30, 2019  Radford, Va.  RSS
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Goalkeeper Brogan Engbers

Goalkeeper Brogan Engbers

The Liberty Flames overcame an early goal by the Radford Highlanders and then used a solid defensive effort for a 2-1 victory in the season opener for both teams at Cupp Stadium, Friday evening.

Trailing 1-0, Liberty midfielders Jordan Barbara and Sebastian Valdez each netted a goal during the final 25 minutes of the opening half for a 2-1 advantage in Liberty head coach Kelly Findley's debut with the Flames. Goalkeeper Brogan Engbers provided solid play in net, stopping five shots.

Liberty moves to 1-0. Radford drops to 0-1.

Scoring Summary
16' – RAD – Amadou Macky Diop (Assisted by Pape Oumar Gueye)
30' – LIBERTY – Jordan Barbara (penalty kick)
43' – LIBERTY – Sebastian Valdez (unassisted)

Turning Point
With the Flames up 2-1 early in the second half, the host Highlanders garnered a penalty shot opportunity during the 52nd minute. Pape Omar Gueye's attempt hit the right post and bounded away. Later in the half, Liberty goalkeeper Engbers stretched out and made a diving save of a shot attempt on a Radford breakout during the 77th minute to hold the Flames lead.

Thoughts from Head Coach Kelly Findley
"I was most pleased with our resilience. We go down a goal on the road and then came back to score two goals. We defended really well and Brogan [Engbers] was tremendous."


Key Stats & Notes

  • Liberty has won each of their last seven season openers.
  • Tonight's contest began the Kelly Findley era for Liberty. Findley took over the program shortly after the 2018 season.
  • Engbers played the entire 90 minutes, making five saves. Engbers weathered a penalty kick attempt early in the second half and made an outstanding save by diving to the turf on a shot by Highlanders sharpshooter Amadou Macky Diop who got into the 18-yard box alone during the 77th minute. The stop allowed the Flames to hold the lead.
  • Barbara and Valdez each scored their first goal in a Liberty uniform in the contest.
  • Flames defender Shalom Dutey made an outstanding defensive play early in the match. Inside the six-yard box, the ball came free and looked like it was going in the goal. The senior ranged back and knocked the ball away from the front of the net and out of bounds to keep the match scoreless.
  • Radford has met Liberty the most of any school in the history of the Flames program. Tonight was the 53rd meeting between the two teams.

Up Next
Liberty welcomes the Incarnate Word Cardinals to Osborne Stadium for its home opener, Sunday. Kickoff is schedule for 6 p.m. The contest will be the first ever meeting between the two teams.