PENSACOLA – Sunday’s game between Florida Southern and West Florida may not have been the high-scoring affair the 2011 match was, but it went down to the very end just the same. Jack Salafrio’s break-away goal in the 78th minute broke a tie score, and the Argonauts were able to run out the final minutes with a series of corner kicks en route to a 2-1 win over the Moccasins.
“This may have been the most deceiving match in Division II soccer today,” said FSC coach Hugh Seyfarth. “We were 0-2-1 and they were 0-2, but you had two very good teams in the South Region here and we saw a great game.”
Last year, the Argonauts jumped out to a 4-0 lead, only to see the Moccasins score three unanswered goals to pull within one. Then, with just over a minute to play, UWF defender Trey Kramer stopped a certain goal by the Moccasins directly in front of the net to prevent what would have been a comeback of epic proportions. Ironically, Kramer played a major role in the Florida Southern goal in this year’s match, which put the Mocs ahead 1-0 in the 31st minute.
Held without a shot up to that point in what turned into a defensive struggle, the Mocs (0-3-1) were awarded a free kick just across midfield. Niklas Davidsson did the honors for Florida Southern, sending it long and into the box where Kramer attempted to clear it. Instead, he re-directed the ball past goalkeeper Ramon Sealy for an own goal, giving the Mocs the lead.
In reality, Kramer and the Argonauts made few mistakes in the back, and neither did the Moccasins. The two sides combined for just 14 shots, less than half their total from the 2011 game. The Argonauts, though, eventually erased the Moccasins’ lead by scoring in the 38th minute on a corner kick, and in the 78th when Salafrio broke free for his game-winner.
The tying goal was scored by Richard Dixon, who hit a running header off the foot of Frank Cope, bulling his way through the box for his first goal of the season. It was one of 15 corner kicks taken by West Florida in the game, while Florida Southern had eight of its own. West Florida had five of them in the final two minutes of the first half, but the Mocs survived them without allowing a goal.
In the second half, each team had only three shots, but one of them went in for the Argonauts. It came off the foot of Salafrino moments after a free kick by the Mocs in the back third. After the quick change of possession, he took a thru ball played by Cope and raced toward the goal 1-on-1 with Brent Theriault. The Moccasin goalkeeper had to come all the way out of the box to challenge him, but Salafrino was able to slip it past him for the goal.
The Moccasins were unable to get another shot in the game, and West Florida used three corner kicks in the final 2½ minutes to run time off the clock. The Mocs had a final push with about 45 seconds remaining, but the Argos turned it away and held on to the ball at the end to close out the win.
“Despite the result, I was very pleased with the boys’ response after not playing well against Young Harris, and coming back the way they did two days later against a very athletic West Florida team. We were organized all day and played a good game. I was especially pleased with the way Brent played in goal in his first college start, and James Gibson really stepped up for us too today starting for Ricky Marton. Luke Jenner was very good too, and Clay Clingerman’s presence on the right side was big weapon.”
All four members of the back line (Gibson, Davidsson, Ashley Holmes, and Petter Allansson) made big stops inside the box for Florida Southern in the game, and a clearance by Holmes on a dangerous corner kick in the 68th minute briefly kept the score tied before Salafrino’s go-ahead goal. Gibson later prevented another goal by Dixon by taking him on man-on-man and breaking up his run to goal, and Theriault made a save on a shot by Felipe Oliveira directly in front of the net.
Florida Southern will face Nova Southeastern on Wednesday night in Davie with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Though Nova is a member of the Sunshine State Conference, Wednesday night’s game will not be a conference match.
“Now we have to focus on the new 8-4 schedule in conference with another regional game on Wednesday night. I feel good and I know the boys feel confident. Unlike last year, we’re much more battle-tested going into the SSC schedule.”