The match was a physical struggle from beginning to end. Both defenses played well, but in the end the Flames were able to score the golden goal in overtime.
The scoring began 24:56 into the first half, as Southern Wesleyan’s Carlos Gonzales knocked in a goal on a free kick from just outside the goalie box.
Lee countered in the second half, also off of a free kick. From just in front of midfield, Flames captain Luke Cuthbert sent in the kick, which was relayed by Fernando Barriga to a streaking Oneil Crawford who knocked the ball in from just a few feet away, finishing the picture-perfect play.
The game-winner came with just 2:14 remaining in the overtime period. Cuthbert sent a pass in to Lee junior, Gilbert Ruiz, who used some fancy footwork to break free and curve the shot just inside the post, sealing the Lee victory.
“I’m lost for words,” said Lee head coach Henry Moyo with a beaming smile. “We fought well, and it was not our best soccer, but we were able to get a much-needed overtime win.”
The Flames have gone to overtime five times this season, winning just two of those matches. The win moves the Flames to an overall record of 5-7-1, 1-0 in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC).
“Give Southern Wesleyan credit, they gave us a tough game,” added Moyo. “Gilbert earned a well deserved goal to finish it.”
Moyo also praised midfielder Mohamed Aden. “Mohamed was outstanding for us tonight at midfield. He had good touch and kept the game moving for us.”
The Lee head coach also mentioned the time off the field preparing for the Warriors. “We spent two days studying our scouting report on Southern Wesleyan, and it really paid off. They are very fast and technical, and every player reading over the reports helped us.”
The Flames will battle Emmanuel College Tuesday night at the Lee University Soccer Field, in hopes of pushing their SSAC record to 2-0. The action is slated to start at 7 p.m.