KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Behind a three-goal surge by senior Eric McWoods (St. Louis, Mo.), the UMKC men’s soccer team (3-3-3, 1-0 WAC) opened Western Athletic Conference play with a 3-2 victory over visiting UT Rio Grande Valley (3-3-1, 0-1 WAC) on Friday evening.
“Our conference is really good,” head coach Rick Benben shared. “Every team is good, every game is good. We have to be ready and do our best and see what happens. This is a great way to start the conference season.”
The win against the Vaqueros makes it the second season in a row that the Roos have topped UTRGV in the conference opener. With tonight’s hat trick, McWoods became the first Roo since Brian Harris in 2008 to complete the feat.
The Vaqueros opened the scoring window in the 15th minute of the match with a header inside the back post on a pass across the box. In the 36th minute, McWoods netted his first goal of the evening, as the ball deflected off of UTRGV’s goalkeeper and rolled into the back of the net to knot the game at one-all.
In the second half, UTRGV’s Angel Lopez converted his first goal of the season to put the Vaqueros back out in front. Nearly three minutes later, a ball deflected off of a UTRGV defender in the box off of a corner kick and landed at the feet of McWoods. The senior forward buried his second goal of the night to once again tie the game up.
With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Pandelis Popgeorgiev (Budapest, Hungary) found teammate McWoods running down the far side of the pitch. A pass across the box by Popgeorgiev made its way through three Vaqueros defenders, allowing McWoods to tip in his sixth goal of the season to complete the hat trick.
UMKC will close its two-game home stand on Sunday when it hosts Incarnate Word at 1 p.m. CT as a part of men’s soccer alumni weekend.
– UMKC –