The seventh-ranked Charlotte 49ers men’s soccer team coasted to a 4-1 victory over the struggling Florida Atlantic Owls on a cold, windy November night at Transamerica Field. The 49ers are now 13-2-1 overall and 5-1-1 in Conference USA play following Saturday evening’s win. Charlotte also managed 13 regular season victories in 2011 on their way to competing for a national championship.
The 49ers dominated the ball for the majority of the contest and the Owls lost their composure early and often. Charlotte delivered the first goal of the night on a penalty kick following a Florida Atlantic foul in the box. 49ers junior Kyle Parker calmly beat the keeper to the back of the net for his team-leading eighth goal of the season to put Charlotte on top 1-0 in the 25th minute.
The game started to get chippy late in the first half with Charlotte applying the pressure on the offensive end. Florida Atlantic received two red cards in less than five minutes and had to play the remaining 48 minutes of regulation with just nine players.
Charlotte emerged from the locker room following halftime and put their foot on the gas against the over-matched Owls. Sophomore midfielder Brandt Bronico made a nifty move in the box to beat his defender before placing the ball into the lower left corner of the goal to extend the 49ers lead to 2-0 early in the second half. Senior Monbo Bokar delivered the assist, making his presence felt in his final regular season game in front of the Queen City Army at Transamerica.
The 49ers received exceptional play from their young forwards off the bench in the latter half of the final 45 minutes. True freshman Harrison Steadman netted his fourth goal of the season in the 76th minute as he bent a beautiful ball into the goal for a 3-0 Charlotte lead.
Steadman added an assist just six minutes later when his cross into the box found the head of a diving Hans Honer who steered the ball past the keeper for the 49ers fourth and final goal of the night.
The 49ers thoroughly dominated an undermanned Florida Atlantic squad with a 23-4 shot advantage and 12-1 difference in corner kicks.
“There are a lot of positives to take from tonight’s win,” said 49ers Head Coach Kevin Langan post-game.
“We really kept our discipline well. We delivered four beautiful goals. Our defense as a team has been fantastic. I think a team that wants to go on and make a run through the NCAA Tournament has to be tough to score against.”
Saturday’s win sets up a match-up against the Kentucky Wildcats on Friday, Nov. 7 that will determine the C-USA regular season championship. Kentucky is currently ranked 16th in the nation.
Photos by Chris Crews.