Despite aggressive play from both teams, the South Carolina men's soccer team fell short for the eighth time this season and for the first time in program history against Florida International on Saturday.
With a once scoreless match, the Gamecocks lost control in an explosive second half to No. 14 FIU, losing 5-2 at Stone Stadium.
Coming into Saturday's game, the Gamecocks were undefeated in their all-time series with FIU. With an overall record of 13-0-7, and three of the last five matches ending in a draw, the Gamecocks were looking to continue history and remain undefeated against a nationally ranked team.
The start of the match was assertive on the defensive end for both teams, and looked to have potential for another draw in this one-sided series with a 0-0 half.
However, it quickly turned in favor of the visiting team.
As the second half began, the aggression once shown on the defensive end was being focused more towards the offensive side of the field.
The Gamecocks scored first after the start of the second half. Offensive leader Luca Mayr scored his team-high fifth goal of the season to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead.
“Luca has done a good job,” said coach Mark Berson when asked how satisfied he was with Mayr’s offensive role this season.
Struggling to win, the Gamecocks played close toward the goal to try to put up points against an offense-heavy FIU team that took 24 shots in the match.
According to Berson, the match was a must-win for the Gamecocks.
“A draw does us no good, so we were really pushing up to make sure we could try to get goals,” Berson said.
The offensive aggression by the Gamecocks ultimately led to a weaker defense in the second period, allowing FIU to score five goals in the half, three of which were scored in an 11-minute time span.
“The goals margin at the end was due to us really throwing a lot of players forward," Berson said.
With this loss, the Gamecocks fall to 4-8-1 on the season and are winless in Conference-USA play.
The Gamecocks can earn their first conference win of the season when they head to Charlotte on Friday to take on the 49ers.