MIAMI – The No. 19 ranked FIU men’s soccer team secured the 2021 Conference USA regular season championship with a dominating 4-1 victory over No. 1 ranked and defending NCAA Division I National Champion, Marshall on Friday night before a raucous sold-out crowd at the FIU Soccer Stadium.
The Panthers, who boast an overall record of 12-2-2 on the season and an unblemished 7-0-1 mark in league play, will now enter postseason action as the No. 1 seed in next week’s Conference USA Championship in Charlotte, N.C. (Nov. 5-10) following the second C-USA regular season title in program history.
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“It is hard to put into words how exciting and fun tonight was,” FIU men’s soccer head coach Kyle Russell said. “Our field, our bleachers, our stadium – it was packed. The band, the cheerleaders, the alumni, friends of the family, the student body, there was no where to sit tonight, it was completely packed. It was an incredible atmosphere for soccer.”
“Marshall is an awesome team, they are No. 1 in the country, but with that being said we trained for this all year long,” Russell added. “Every practice mattered. We compete in games like every game is a championship game. So, this was nothing new for us. It was a total team effort.”
FIU found itself trailing 1-0 in the early portion of the match following a successful Marshall penalty kick 12:12 into regulation.
The Panthers would take control from there with a pair of goals in the first half, before adding another two tallies over the final 45 minutes.
The Blue and Gold outshot the Herd for the match 24-11 and earned seven corner chances to Marshall’s two.
FIU dealt Marshall its first loss over its last 13 matches and its first loss in conference play since Oct. 26, 2019 – a span of 17 matches.
FIU Panthers athletics contributed to this column