Lee Soccer Rolls Past Tusculum
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Mattia Balzano celebrates with his teammates after a score in Saturday's win over Tusculum.
Mattia Balzano scored two second half goals as the Lee men's soccer team rolled to a 4-0 victory over Tusculum on a beautiful Saturday evening at the Ray Conn Sports Complex.
After a scoreless first half, Balzano got the Flames on the board in the 58th minute as received the ball from Gui Busato and flipped it over the keeper into the back of the net.
In the 76th minute, Borja Gaspar beat his defender and was taken down from behind by Rodrigo Pascual. By rule, since Pascual was the last defender, he was given a straight red card.
Tusculum was already playing a man down thanks to a first half red card by Adam O'Sullivan. Jared McWhorter capitalized and drilled the kick from 25 yards out into the top right corner of the goal for his second score in as many matches to make it 2-0.
With a two-man advantage the rest of the way the Flames made the most of the opportunity with two more goals. Balzano doubled up as he received a quick touch from Gaspar and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net to make it 3-0 at the 80:18 mark.
"I was glad we could come out and get the win tonight," said Balzano. "My teammates put me in some really good positions to score and thankfully I was able to make the most of those opportunities. I really like the way we bounced back from Tuesday's loss and I think this is going to be a great year for us."
Caio Arantes put the icing on the cake with a powerful left-footed boot from the top of the box in the 88th minute.
Flames' keeper Sam Keener kept the clean sheet. He had one save in 83:21 of action. Roel Martinez cleaned up the last 6:39 in net. Tusculum keeper Bruno DeFreitas had four saves as he faced 15 shots, including eight on frame.
"I thought we were very solid from start to finish tonight," said Lee head coach Derek Potteiger. "We cleaned up some mistakes we made defensively last game and on offense we continued to put ourselves in good positions to score. I told the guys at halftime to be patient we were going to connect eventually, and they came out in the second half and made it happen.
Lee outshot the Pioneers 15-6 and limited the visitors to just one shot one goal. The Flames enjoyed a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks. The physical contest featured 30 fouls, 16 on Tusculum and 14 on Lee to go along with two reds and seven yellows.
"We know our league is going to be a tough and that each match will present a different challenge for us. But we are excited to get into the GSC schedule and we feel like we have an opportunity to have a special season."
The Flames will open up GSC play at home on Friday as they host Union at 5 p.m. at the Lee Soccer Field. The game will be a doubleheader with the Lady Flames as a part of the annual Kickin It For Kid's With Cancer Match. The event helps raise money for the Austin Hatcher Foundation and the great work they do to help kids and families affected by Pediatric Cancer.