Sun Devils’ speed outlasts Lopes’ defense in 5-2 GCU loss
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
The hope was to give a happy lead-in to Friday night’s ‘Midnight Madness’. In the end, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Soccer team just walked away mad.
The Lopes saw a 2nd-half lead evaporate into a 5-2 loss at the hands of Arizona State University Friday night at Prescott Field on the GCU campus. The loss squared the season series between the two teams, and sent the Lopes to their 2nd straight loss in front of their largest home crowd of the season.
Those fans who left at halftime (or just moved closer to GCU Arena to secure their spots for the annual ‘Midnight Madness’ basketball event later that night) were likely shocked to see the final score, since the first half wasn’t much more than a scoreless, defensive standoff. However, the stingy defense ended around the same time that the halftime clock expired, since the Lopes broke the tie two minutes into the second half with a Corey Valdivia goal off a rebounded shot from teammate Daniel Malki. Eight minutes later, the Sun Devils scored in similar fashion as ASU’s Tarek Salama’s shot off a deflection found the back of the GCU net to knot the score at 1-1.
The Devils would take their first lead off a corner kick just three minutes later, but the Lopes responded in the 69th minute with a beautiful assist pass from Angel Figueroa that Malki cashed in to tie the score for the final time at two apiece. From there, though, the speed of the ASU attackers seemed to wear down the GCU defense, with Salama scoring the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute, then completing the ‘hat trick’ with a penalty-kick goal with just over four minutes left to put the game out of reach. The Devils scored a ‘garbage-time’ goal with just seconds left on the clock to complete the scoring. “We weren’t first to the ball,” said GCU Head Men’s Club Soccer Coach Lance Thompson. “(Give) credit to ASU, since they executed better than we did, but that’s where our downfall came. We weren’t first to the ball, didn’t clear it out, and they took advantage of the second chances.”
The Lopes still have two more chances to notch a home victory this weekend, since the GCU Purple team will host Arizona Christian University’s reserve team Saturday morning at 11AM, and then the main team will finish off the weekend with a 5PM showdown Sunday afternoon against the University of Arizona. Both matches will be at Prescott Field.