BOCA RATON, FL – James Meehan scored a little over five minutes into overtime after a fantastic game by goalkeeper Benny Yusufoglu in regulation time as Florida Southern knocked off 15th-ranked Lynn 2-1 in the Sunshine State Conference opener for both teams. The win pushes the Moccasins' record to 5-0 for the first time since 1997.
The Moccasins scored first Saturday night, with Christoph Gums doing the honors in the ninth minute before the Knights tied the score in the 76th. Meehan then scored on Florida Southern's only shot in overtime, giving the Mocs their first win over a nationally ranked team since 2014. It dropped Lynn, last year's Division II national runner-up, to 2-2 on the season with its second straight loss.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Lynn had the first scoring chance, barely a minute into the game, but Max Herbert put his shot high from inside the box, and the Knights did not have another shot until the 28th minute when Herbert had one re-directed by a defender off the left post. In between, the Moccasins had only one shot, but theirs was on target for a goal 8:30 into the game. Receiving a short pass from Claus Lehland, Gums buried his shot from the top left-center of the box just inside the far post for his third goal of the season. Junior midfielder Tobias Rodriguez Brindicci, who had a strong first half on the left flank for the Mocs, initially created the attack that resulted in the goal.
- Lynn's best opportunities in the first half seemed to come from free kicks, but each time Florida Southern was up to the challenge on the set pieces. It took a group effort in the 16th minute to clear the ball before a shot could be taken, and a cross from Martin Drobits in the 21st minute skimmed off the head of Shay Brennan.
- There was also work to be done by Yusufoglu, who went to the ground twice in the final 15 minutes of the half to make saves and keep it a 1-0 game. The first of those came off the foot of Brennan deep inside the box, and the second denied Rodrigo Fernandez following a free kick. The shot by Fernandez was a well-placed effort that was headed for the lower right corner of the goal before it was pushed away by Yusufoglu. An attempt by Nils Borner on the ensuing corner kick was blocked, and the Knights, who out-shot the Mocs 5-2 in the first half, still went to the locker room trailing by a goal.
- The Moccasins nearly added to their lead shortly after halftime when Brindicci rocketed one from distance off the crossbar. The Mocs then dodged two corner kicks in the 55th and 56th minutes, with the Knights unable to get a shot from either. They did get one in the 60th minute as a result of a free kick by Niklas Tasky, but Yusufoglu stopped the header by Daniel Brenan.
- Yusufoglu's next save was far more difficult and reminiscent of his two in the latter stages of the first half. He pushed this one by Borner in the 74th minute just wide of the goal, and again the Knights could do nothing with the corner kick.
- It was a corner kick in the 76th minute, however, that finally allowed Lynn to tie the score with the first goal allowed by Florida Southern this year. Herbert took that corner for the Knights, and after it was initially headed by Brenan, Tomer Bitton was in position for another header that knotted the game at 1-1.
- The remaining 14 minutes saw Yusufoglu make one more save, which came against Gustavo Bergman in the 89th minute. That resulted in one more short for Lynn, but it sailed harmlessly left and time expired on the second half.
- Lynn also had the first shot of overtime, but it was off the mark, and Florida Southern capitalized on a counter-attack down the right side of the field. Taking the ball from Ian McIntosh, Meehan drove to goal and slotted hit shot past Roberto Bazzichetto for the game-winner in the 96th minute.
- Lynn finished with a 14-6 advantage in shots, but Yusufoglu stopped five of them to keep Florida Southern in the game. Bazzichetto did not make a save for Lynn, which also had a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- This is only the third time in 62 years Florida Southern has started a season 5-0. The 1997 team, which last accomplished that, went on to win its first eight games.
- Saturday's game was the second time in the last three games the Moccasins have played a team ranked above them in the United Soccer Coaches South Region Poll and they are now 2-0 in those games. They beat Montevallo, which was No. 8 at the time, on Labor Day. Lynn was ranked No. 3, and Florida Southern was No. 5 this week.
- Florida Southern came into the weekend as one of just four teams in Division II that had not allowed a goal, and Yusufoglu was one of six qualifying goalkeepers with a perfect goals against average. Two of the other teams and their respective goalkeepers, defending national champion Charleston (WV) and Notre Dame (OH) will play each other on Sunday. The other remaining team with no goals allowed is Indianapolis, which also plays on Sunday. The one goal allowed is still the best five-game start to a season for the Moccasins, and it extends their school-record streak of games surrendering one goal or no goals to 12.
- Lynn was the last team to score against Florida Southern when the Knights took a 1-0 overtime decision in last year's SSC Tournament Quarterfinals. The Moccasins extended their streak this year to 435:12, which is the second longest in team history. Only the 1997 team went longer without allowing a goal (523:48). Yusufoglu's personal streak also went to 435:12, which is the third longest behind Marcus Larsson (521:34 spanning the 2000-01 seasons) and Cliff Dixon (510:34 in 1997).
- Prior to Saturday, the last four meetings between Florida Southern and Lynn ended with 1-0 scores. The Moccasins won in 2015, the Knights won in 2016, and the Knights won twice in 2017 with one of those games in the SSC Tournament Quarterfinals.
- Saturday night's game marked the 18th time Florida Southern has played either a defending national champion or national runner-up, and the last six times that has happened, the opponent has been Lynn. The Moccasins have won the last two such encounters, beating the Knights 1-0 in 2015 when they were coming off a national championship. Current seniors Daniel Moore and Pablo Gallo Arias were starting defenders for Florida Southern in that game.
- Florida Southern's last win over a top-25 team was on September 14, 2014, in Pensacola, a 3-1 victory over No. 18 West Florida. Of their 15 wins over ranked opponents, 11 have come on the road, including another one over a Lynn team that was ranked No. 15 in 2010. Saturday was only the second time the Mocs beat a ranked team in overtime though, with the other occurrence a 3-2 win at top-ranked Barry in 2000.
- The Moccasins' last overtime win against anyone came in 2013 against Florida Tech, a 3-2 victory at Barnett Field on a goal by Jonathan Radvogin in the 99th minute. They had been 0-3-7 since then. Their last overtime win on the road was September 17, 2005, at Palm Beach Atlantic when Aaron DeLoach scored in the 107th minute for a 2-1 victory over the Sailfish.
Florida Southern returns home for its next game on Wednesday night with a 7 p.m. kickoff against Rollins. It will be the Moccasins second straight game against a top-25 opponent with the Tars currently ranked No. 21.