Men’s soccer ties in season opener at Oakland

Jose Fuentes goes to the grount to kick the ball

Jose Fuentes scored the sole Flames’ goal in a draw at Oakland Friday. Photo: Steve Woltmann

The men’s soccer team hosts its first league contest of the season tonight after coming up with a double-overtime draw at Oakland Friday in the Horizon League season opener. 

Fans can cheer on the Flames (4-2-2, 0-0-1) at 7 p.m. tonight at Flames Field as they take on Valparaiso.

Freshman Jose Fuentes scored for the Flames in the 27th minute during Friday’s game on a cross from senior Jesus Torres for his second goal of the season.

“Opening Horizon League play is always tough, especially on the road against a very talented attacking team such as Oakland,” head coach Sean Phillips said. “We started flat and later in the first half we found the mentality, scored a goal and started to carry some of the play through the end of the half. Unfortunately, we were not consistent enough and did not finish the opportunities we had to win the game and allowed them chances of their own.”

UIC was held without a shot until Fuentes charged the net and headed in the Flames’ lone goal of the game on Torres’ cross. UIC got off three additional shots before the first half came to a close, but all attempts were blocked.

The Golden Grizzlies took six shots in the first 45 minutes. Sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Putna made four quality saves, including a stoppage on a one-on-one opportunity by Shawn Claud Lawson in the 11th minute. Putna later made two more saves for six total. Oakland came up with the equalizer in the 67th minute to put the score at 1-1.

Torres, sophomore Gonzalo Romo and redshirt-junior Thomas Villamil combined for the Flames’ four attempts in the second, but they went off target. Redshirt-junior Zack Judickas fired off an attempt that went in the net in the 89th minute, but offsides was called.

In overtime, UIC outshot Oakland, 4-2, with a last-chance effort coming in the final minute of play when Torres took his third shot of the night.

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