– The Temple men's soccer squad will wrap up their regular season schedule on Friday, Nov. 2nd when they head to Dallas, Texas to take on the SMU Mustangs. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. EST, as Temple looks to improve their unbeaten streak to three and secure their official seed in the conference tournament bracket.
Last Time Out
> The squad emerged victorious on a cold Saturday night, defeating the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 1-0. The Owls recognized their six seniors as they played their final game at the Temple Sports Complex, leaving with smiles on their faces after securing one last home win to clinch a spot in the American Athletic Conference tournament.
> The lone goal of the match came for the Owls in the 27th minute of action. Freshman Elias Hellgren Villegas
made a solid tackle in the Tulsa goal box, winning the ball and back-heeling it across the box to junior Lukas Fernandes
. Fernandes collected himself and buried the game-winner past the Golden Hurricane keeper for his sixth goal of the season.
Scouting the Owls
> Temple enters their regular season finale with an overall record of 5-8-4, earning a 2-3-1 tab in conference play. The Owls have not lost a game by more than one goal all season, and have limited their opponents to one or fewer goals on 13 occasions.
> Fernandes has been key for the Cherry and White in the attacking third all season. He leads the team in points (16), goals (6) and assists (4), and notched his third game-winning goal of the season in Saturday's crucial win over Tulsa. He ranks fourth in the conference in shots, points, goals and game-winning goals, and continues to be a prime play maker for Temple from his center mid position.
> The Owls posted two clean sheets in their most recent contests, shutting out the Penn Quakers and leaving Tulsa scoreless in back-to-back home action at the Temple Sports Complex last week. Simon Lefebvre
and the Temple defense have now shut out their opponents five times this season, and his 55 saves are good for the second most in the American.
> For the second time this year, the junior pair of Fernandes and Lefebvre swept half of the AAC weekly honors, with Fernandes being named Offensive Player of the Week and Lefebvre earning Goalkeeper of the Week accolades. Fernandes has earned weekly recognition from the conference three times this season, after being named Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 24th and earning a spot on the Weekly Honor Roll on Oct. 8th. Lefebvre has been the conference's Goalkeeper of the Week twice now, previously earning the title on Sept. 24th. He also was named the Philadelphia Soccer Six Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this year.
Scouting the Mustangs
> SMU wraps up their regular season schedule on Friday, entering the match with an overall record of 8-4-2. Their 4-1-1 tab in the conference matches first place UCF's, but pins them second overall due to their head-to-head loss to the Knights.
> The Mustangs are coming off of a critical 2-0 win at UConn on Sunday afternoon. Despite the Huskies taking the advantage in shots and corners, the Mustangs were able to capitalize on their opportunities and shutout the nationally ranked UConn squad. The two SMU goals came from Thomas Haney and Phillip Ponder in the 50th and 63rd minute, respectively.
> SMU shared the other half of the weekly awards with Temple, as Haney was named Rookie of the Week after netting the game-winning goal over UConn and Ponder was named Defensive Player of the Week after scoring the other Mustang goal and leading the SMU backline to a shutout.
> Emil Cuello spearheads the SMU offense with 16 points this season from five goals and six assists. Akean Shackleford ties Cuello with five goals on the season, adding 10 points to the Mustang squad that has scored 21 goals and compiled 62 points on the year.
> Grant Makela has anchored the Mustangs between the posts this season. He has saved 42 shots in his 1120 in net for SMU, allowing just 10 goals for a goals against average of 0.80. Makela was named to the Weekly Honor Roll this week after positing his fifth shutout of the year.
> Temple has compiled a record of 1-4-1 against SMU since the squads first met in 2013. The lone win came in 2016 when they downed the Mustangs 1-0, and the Owls look to snap a two-game losing streak after falling most recently in the conference tournament last season.
> The Cherry and White officially clinched a spot in the post-season action, as their win over Tulsa propels them into contention for the American Athletic Conference championship title. This will be the first playoff run for the squad under head coach Brian Rowland
, and the bracket will be decided after each team plays their final regular season games this week. The five finalized teams that will join Temple and continue into post-season play are UCF, UConn, Memphis, USF, and SMU.
> SMU will battle for the win with the honorary one seed on the line. The Mustangs are currently tied for first in the conference with UCF, and still have the hopes of hosting the conference tournament if things play out their way. The conference tournament bracket will not be finalized until after all four games are played on Friday evening.