The Pitt men’s soccer team hosted Akron at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Monday night for the latest installment in a series that has been unkind to the Panthers in recent years. However, despite the teams’ history, Pitt managed to pull off a 1-0 victory on its home turf, avenging last year’s 1-0 loss to the Zips at FirstEnergy Stadium in Akron, Ohio.
Akron, a perennial contender for top honors in men’s soccer, has fallen on hard times in 2019, as the MAC team entered Monday’s matchup with a 0-4-0 record. However, as of Sept. 8, the Zips were still receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll, so not all hope was lost for them ahead of their tilt with the Panthers.
Pitt was aggressive from the onset on Monday night, as Akron spent the majority of the first half on its heels. However, despite outshooting the Zips 7-1, the Panthers were unable to capitalize on their opportunities and entered halftime with the score tied at zero. The second half followed a similar arc, with Pitt reeling off shot after shot but failing to convert.
However, Pitt’s fortunes changed in the final 20 minutes, shortly after Pitt head coach Jay Vidovich made some adjustments to his lineup. Vidovich took out Edward Kizza in favor of Alexander Dexter in the 71st minute, and the move paid off almost instantly, as Dexter beat Akron goalkeeper Tor Saunders to put the Panthers on the board in the 75th minute.
”We created some good opportunities in the first half where we came close to drawing blood but just missed them,” Vidovich said in a postgame interview. “I think the big thing was being patient at halftime and trying to push a little bit harder. It took 75 minutes and a guy off the bench, Alexander Dexter, gave us an opportunity to finish.”
In addition to Dexter, Vidovich got notable performances out of Pitt goalkeeper Arie Ammann, who made four saves and recorded a clean sheet, and Pitt midfielder Sito Sena, who set up several scoring opportunities in addition to knocking a free kick off the crossbar.
With the win, the Panthers improve to 2-3-1 on the season, and the Zips fall to 0-5-0. Pitt will look to maintain its momentum as it resumes ACC play against Boston College on Friday. Kickoff from Newton Soccer Field in Newton, Massachusetts, is set for 5 p.m. ET