Charlotte/UAB mens soccer

Charlotte's Ethan Sawdon fights for ball control.

The Charlotte 49ers men's soccer team visited the UAB Blazers on Saturday, Nov. 6, in the final regular-season match of the season. The 49ers convincingly defeated the Blazers, with all three goals coming in the second half. 

This win for the 49ers allowed them to clinch the third seed in the Conference USA (C-USA) Men's Soccer Championships, which Charlotte will be hosting at Transamerica field from Nov. 10 through Nov. 14. 

First Half:

The first half was a quiet one for both teams as neither could produce goal-scoring opportunities. However, the Blazers played with intensity from the very beginning as this was a crucial match for them as they were looking to win their first game in C-USA play.  

The 49ers came out of the gate with a redshirt senior Joe Brito shot, but UAB goalie Seth Torman came up with the stop. The Blazers recorded both of their shots in the half in the first 25 minutes but could not convert. 

The most promising attack of the half came from the 49ers with seconds left into the half. Senior midfielder Jaxson Watermann dribbled down the right wing to beat his defender with pace and crossed the ball into the penalty area. A botched attempt to clear the cross from Blazers sophomore defender Owen Travis set Brito up with a shot on target, but Blazers goalkeeper Torman extended his arm out to make the save and deny Brito the first goal of the match.  

The Blazers had two shots with one on target, forcing the 49ers senior goalkeeper Daniel Kuzemka to make the save. The 49ers had seven shots, and three were on target. Charlotte controlled ball possession 57% to the Blazers 43%.

Second Half

In the first five minutes, Charlotte came out of the gates hot with a shot from freshman defender Alessandro Negri. At the 57:38 mark, the 49ers got on the scoreboard with a goal from sophomore forward Jonathon Nyandjo, who scored off a deflected cross from the right-wing, and it was his third of the season. 

The 49ers got back on the board 13 minutes later as senior forward Preston Popp scored inside the penalty area. With this goal, Popp secured the C-USA golden boot award for the second consecutive season, scoring his seventh goal of C-USA play. Brito was credited with the assist, which brought his assist total to ten for the season. 

Charlotte secured the match with a goal in the 87th minute as redshirt senior defender Delasi Batse tapped in a goal, his third of the season. The Blazers only had one shot on target and forced Kuzemka into making a save, but this clean sheet for Kuzemka was due to the 49ers' solid defense on the night. The 49ers recorded 13 shots, with 11 of those on target in the second half. 

Next Up:

The 49ers will seek to keep the momentum going as they host the Florida Atlantic Owls in the first round of the C-USA Men's Soccer Championships on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at Transamerica Field. The 49ers will also be hosting the tournament this year at home. The match will be available to stream on ESPN+.

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