Men’s soccer unbeaten in Horizon with sixth shutout
Abel Guzman entered the game in overtime to score in the 95th minute of play to push the UIC men’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory against Oakland Saturday night at Flames Field.
The Flames (7-4-3, 4-0-2 HL) remain unbeaten in the Horizon League this season as they picked up their sixth shutout.
It was a battle from start to finish with strong defensive efforts from both teams. UIC was allowed 10 shots on the night, with Jorge Alvarez leading all players with four attempts. Of the chances, two reached on goal from Guzman and Nestor Garcia.
The Flames limited the Golden Grizzlies (6-7-1, 3-3-1 HL) to four shots in the game, marking the fifth time this season that opponents have been held to fewer than five shots.
The first half presented limited opportunities on either side as UIC took four shots and Oakland attempted two. The Flames were close on all of their looks, with Max Todd, Manny Chavez and Jorge Alvarez sending the ball high on each of their shots. The lone shot on goal came in the 37th minute for UIC, when Garcia sent in a blast from the far left side.
Things got physical in the second half with 15 fouls and three yellow cards. The Flames still found a way to break into the zone and create chances. They were credited with the first three shots of the second half, but Garcia, Alvarez and Jose Fuentes couldn’t reach the net on their strikes.
Alvarez put up UIC’s final two shots in the half as the Golden Grizzlies’ attempts came up short with one going wide and another blocked.
The Flames headed into overtime and put possession in their favor. They were issued back-to-back corner kicks three minutes in, but it was in the 95th minute that the opportunity struck.
A pass from Alvarez met with Joel Leon, who sent it to an awaiting Guzman. He buried the ball past the keeper for his second goal of the year and the game-winner.
Andrew Putna did not need to make a single save on the night, marking the first time this season he was not forced to make a stop. With the shutout, he collected his sixth clean sheet and improved to a 0.87 goals-against-average this season.
The Flames prepare for an away game Wednesday against Valparaiso in Indiana, with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. CT.