REBELS COMPLETE NON-CONFERENCE PLAY WITH 3-2 COMEBACK VICTORY OVER UC IRVINE
Senior Marco Gonzalez scores the game-winning goal with 20 seconds remaining
Senior Marco Gonzalez’s game-winning goal with 20 seconds remaining on the clock capped UNLV men’s soccer 3-2, come-from-behind victory over UC Irvine Sunday night at Peter Johann Memorial Field in its non-conference finale. The Johann Memorial Classic win improves the Rebels’ record to 4-3 on the season.
“Irvine has played some of the hardest teams in the country this year and we knew they were going to be very good. Their first goal was fantastic, but afterward our guys were resilient,” said head coach Rich Ryerson. “We got some momentum when we had that one goal, two goals all of a sudden and then a great finish on Marco’s goal at the end, so it was a fantastic. It feels great to win that way. They don’t go that way very often so it’s nice to get that win tonight.”
In the game’s final scoring sequence, Gonzalez snuck the go-ahead score in between UC Irvine goalkeeper Luke Pruter’s legs after the ball was served right in front of him near the left post by senior captain Jesus Partida and freshman Lateef Omidiji in the 89th minute.
Facing a 2-0 deficit against the Anteaters (2-5-1) with less than 19 minutes, senior Aedon Kyra sent a cross toward the right post that senior Gabriel Claudio slid in to put the Rebels on the board with their first score in the 72nd minute. The Scarlet and Gray’s constant pressure inside UC Irvine’s box carried over into the final minutes, as junior Skyler Goo drew a penalty in the 88th minute and senior captain Jesus Partida drilled the ensuing penalty kick for the 2-2 equalizer that set up Gonzalez’s heroics.
UC Irvine jumped out to a quick lead, 1-0, in the early moments of the contest on the night’s first goal in the eighth minute off a corner play. The Anteaters went ahead by two scores in the 66th minute and kept a grip on that lead for over five minutes until the Rebels found the back of the net.
Making the start in goal for the Rebels, senior Lukas Betz picked up his third win of the season.
UNLV will remain at home for its WAC opener vs. California Baptist on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at UNLVTickets.com.
NEWS & NOTES:
- With the comeback win, the Rebels now have three game-winning goals in the 85th minute or later.
- The go-ahead goal by senior Marco Gonzalez was his second this of the 2021 campaign, as he also sent UNLV to a 2-1 win with an 85th-minute goal in the season opener at Gonzaga.
- UNLV also received a game-winner in its home-opening 2-1 victory vs. UC San Diego with Aedon Kyra’s 89th-minute goal in the squad’s only other contest played on its home turf this season.