After a strong pre-season, UIW men’s soccer did not bring that form in to the regular season as they fell in their opener. Oral Roberts won the physical, and at times angry, battle to get a 2-0 win in the season opener for both teams.
It was a strong start from UIW when new midfielder Tom Bibby sent in a ball for forward Ben Conway, who controlled well with his chest. That control allowed Conway the chance to volley, but he got under the ball sending it well over the bar.
The star for Oral Roberts was their goalkeeper, who kept the Cardinals at bay throughout the first half, making four huge saves. That allowed the Golden Eagles to open the scoring in the 32nd minute when they punished UIW for some horrendous defending. A Santiago Riveros free-kick was sent in to a wide open Matthew Rogers, left with an easy header to give Oral Roberts a 1-0 halftime lead.
Just five minutes in to the second half UIW were handed a big advantage when Oral Roberts were reduced to ten men. Rafael Rivera slid in with excessive force on his opponent, forcing the referee to show him a straight red card.
That allowed the Cardinals to press even harder at the goal, looking to find an equalizer against the Oral Roberts defense. But that Golden Eagles defense remained as strong as they had throughout the first half, holding out UIW.
Those wasted opportunities came back to haunt UIW as they conceded again in the 69th minute and again through a Riveros free-kick. Riveros sent in the ball again and this time found Isaac Fraley who easily headed home after another UIW set-piece defensive lapse.
Things got even worse for UIW in the 75th minute when they lost their man advantage after Fernando Laverde was given his second yellow card. That really ended UIW’s hopes, they kept the attack up but now with the numbers even, ORU’s defense only improved further.