Conquistadors suffer early season loss to top-ranked Bobcats

Conquistador men's soccer falter against the St. Thomas Bobcats 3-2. (August 26, 2023)
Conquistador men’s soccer falter against the St. Thomas Bobcats 3-2. (August 26, 2023)

(Box Score

HIALEAH, Fla. ( Aug. 26, 2023) – On November 19, 2022, the St. Thomas University Bobcats men’s soccer team handed Florida National University a devastating postseason loss in the second round of the NAIA National Tournament. In the last 280 days, FNU has prepared and waited eagerly to face its South Florida rival on the pitch for a shot at redemption. But hopes of a victory over the Bobcats will have to come another night, as the No. 21 Coqnusitadors (2-1-0) suffered their first loss of the 2023 season to the Bobcats (1-0-0) 3-2. 

This El Classico thriller at Milander Park in Hialeah, Fla., was a thriller early, as the Bobcats got on the board first with a goal from Tomas Persico. A deflected ball allowed Persico to loft the ball over goalkeeper Juan Manuel Fermoselle at the 5:29 mark. Later on in the half, a foul committed by Vinicius Mallmann in the penalty area led to STU’s second goal of the afternoon, this time from Guido Cacciabue. 

Facing their largest deficit over their first three games, FNU’s offense tried to will its way back into the contest but recorded two shots in the first half to the Bobcats’ seven. After halftime, FNU turned up the intensity, pressuring the Bobcat’s backline. STU’s keeper committed a costly foul attempting to stop a crossing ball, awarding the Conquistadors a penalty 68 minutes into the game. Bautista Dominguez once again stepped up when his team needed him most, drilling a goal with tactical precision from the penalty marker to make it 2-1.

But the Bobcats went down the field to make it a 3-1 game on a goal from Osaghae Oghogho. Once again racing against the clock down by two scores, FNU’s Blas Barrancos delivered a goal courtesy of Manuel Rodriguez and Santiago Leaniz with under 10 minutes remaining. FNU’s best chance to tie the match came on a shot attempt from Leaniz at 86:49 that went over the crossbar to the dismay of the Coqnusitador faithful in attendance. The Bobcats were able to run out the clock and ring in their first victory in 2023.

STU recorded seven corners to the Conquistadors’ three and ended the game with 14 shots to FNU’s 13. Bobcat goalkeeper Franco Acerbi had five saves, while Fermoselle was awarded one. 

Up Next: Conquistador men’s soccer continues a three-game homestand August 31 versus the Webber International University Warriors at 10 a.m.

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