Written by: Owen Boyle
Photo by: Temple Athletics
Three second-half goals and a brace from Hattabiou Barry propelled the Golden Knights to a home victory over the Temple Owls.
The Owls came into this match riding a two-game unbeaten streak while UCF was fresh off a 2-0 win against nationally-ranked SMU.
Temple was without Mickael Borger, who was sidelined with a knee injury that he picked up in last weekend’s draw at Tulsa. Freshman Jimi Leder stepped into the right-back position in what was his first collegiate start.
“Jimmy is a competitor, and he works really hard,” said coach Brian Rowland. “He has some really good attributes that have earned him respect amongst the senior players. He has done a great job when he has filled in.”
Brandon Johnson also was inserted back into the Owls lineup after his suspension ended. The center back was shown a red card and subsequently suspended in the cherry and white’s 2-0 win against SMU.
The Golden Knights got off to a hot start with most of the attacking pressure and possession. A UCF corner kick in the 7th minute was almost headed into the net by Santiago Majewski, but the ball struck the left post and was cleared by the Owls.
The home side would get on the scoreboard less than 10 minutes later. Gino Vivi chipped a ball over the top for Hattabiou Barry, who calmly beat Eoin Gawronski. This gave the Frenchman goals in consecutive matches.
This goal happened to be the first goal the Owls had allowed in just over 250 minutes of play. Temple held their opponents scoreless from the second half of the home match versus USF to the 16:14 minute mark in tonight’s affair.
Just a few minutes after the Owls conceded, they lost another player to injury. Santiago Majewski was forced to exit the match after lunging for a ball near the sideline. This was the second straight game that Majewski was forced off due to injury; he did not return.
“We plan for contingencies as much as we can,” said Brian Rowland. “It was disappointing to lose Santiago early on and concede as well.”
The Owls were already without Mickael Borger on defense and now had lost another integral part to their backline in the form of the junior Majewski.
The team was also missing midfield anchor Andres Charles, who has been out with injury since the first game against UCF.
“He is week-to-week at this point,” said Rowland. “He has been a big loss for us, but we are hopeful he is able to come back this season.”
The Owls finished the half with zero total shots and three corner kicks.
Just three minutes into the second frame, the Golden Knights found the back of the net. The home team was awarded a penalty kick after Brandon Johnson’s attempted clearance appeared to strike the hand of Pierre Cayet in the penalty box.
Midfielder Yoni Sorokin stepped up to the penalty spot and slotted home to beat a diving Gawronski.
“The penalty early in the second half really set us back,” said Rowland. “It was very upsetting to give that away, and we were unable to get back in the game after that.”
It would go from bad to worse for the Owls as UCF struck again just two minutes later. Anderson Rosa curled a left-footed freekick over the wall and into the bottom right corner for his first college goal.
The Owls first shot of the night came 52 minutes into the match when Pierre Cayet skewed a shot wide of the goal.
Temple quickly followed up with their first shot on target off of Mike Eijgendaal’s foot.
The Golden Knights came awfully close to extending their lead to four when Gino Vivi hit the post on a chip shot from the edge of the box.
The Owls almost got themselves back into the game when Esteban Suarez rifled a shot on goal, which was parried away by Yannik Oettl. The loose ball made its way back to the Mexican international whose follow-up shot was deflected out for a corner.
Paul Frendach had a long-range effort that was easily saved by Oettl, which would have been a consolation goal for the Owls.
Adding insult to injury, The Golden Knights found the back of the net with just two minutes left for the fourth time on the night. Hattabiou Barry recorded his second goal after curling a shot into the top right corner.
As the final whistle blew, the Owls’ short unbeaten run came to an end.
After failing to record a shot for 50 plus minutes, the cherry and white finished with eight total shot attempts and five shots on target.
“I thought we had good looks; we just need to execute better,” said Rowland.
This was the fourth straight loss against this UCF side for the Temple Owls. They have been outscored 12-0 in those four matches. The Central Floridian’s have also won five out of their last six against Temple.
The Golden Knights sweep the season series between the two sides after defeating the Owls in Philadelphia earlier this season.
Temple will finish out their three-game road trip with a meeting against Memphis.
“We recognize that we weren’t at our best,” said Rowland. “We need to get our footing and go again on Saturday.”
After scoring the overtime winner with just two minutes left, the Tigers took down the Owls in heartbreaking fashion. Brian Rowland’s squad will be looking to avenge their early-season loss and even the season series between the two AAC foes.
The game can be streamed on ESPN+ this Saturday at 7