OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 19, 2013) – Men’s soccer in the Heartland Conference is a physical game and Oklahoma Christian was reminded of that Saturday against visiting Texas A&M International.
The Dustdevils came out aggressive and stayed that way the entire game en route to a 2-1 win over OC, outshooting the Eagles 34-14 and taking seven corner kicks to the Eagles’ one.
TAMIU (6-6-1, 4-1 Heartland) took advantage of two chances midway through the game to seize the lead and held off a last-gasp rally by the Eagles in the final minute.
“I thought we came out flat,” OC coach David Scott said. “The work rate we’ve had the last couple of games just wasn’t there. I think we gave them a little too much respect and created a lot of problems for ourselves with the way we came out and played.”
TAMIU scored its first goal in the 39th minute. OC goalkeeper Evan Helker saved a point-blank shot by Tayeb Ahmadi, but Arturo Gutierrez was there to put in the rebound.
A foul just outside the penalty box in the 47th minute led to the Dustdevils’ second goal, a free kick from 20 yards out by Camilo Botero. TAMIU also had a pair of shots carom off the crossbar which could have extended its lead.
OC (3-7-1, 1-3) scored in the final minute, when TAMIU goalkeeper Miguel Lucio failed to clear a ball after coming off his line. OC’s Brandon Little Axe tapped the loose ball to Domenico DeGrazia, who put the ball into the empty net with 32 seconds left.
The Eagles were awarded one free kick after that. Helker sent in a long ball from about midfield, but Lucio was able to grab it before the Eagles could attempt a shot.
Lucio finished with five saves, as did Helker.
“One thing that we’re trying to develop in these guys is recognizing that not every game is going to be pretty,“ Scott said. “We’re not going to be able to ping the ball around and play exactly how we want to every game. We’ve got to get stuck in a play a little bit more physical and have a little more fight to us at times.”