October 10, 2012
Aleksov leads UIC over Loyola
CHICAGO –Junior Slobodan Aleksov scored two goals in the first seven minutes of the game, and midfielder Josh Beard added his first goal of the season early in the second half, leading UIC to a convincing 3-1 win over cross-town rival Loyola at Flames Field Wednesday night.
With the win, UIC improved to 5-5-2, with a 2-1-1 Horizon League mark. Loyola, the defending Horizon League Tournament Champions, dropped to 1-7-2 and 0-1-2. It marked the first time since 2003 that either team had won a head-to-head match by at least two goals.
“I thought we were finally able to click (offensively) tonight,” said UIC head coach Sean Phillips. “We had two center forwards playing, and I think the addition of that second front runner, coupled with the play of Slobodan Aleksov, really paid off in this game.
“Slobodan is a very talented player,” Phillips added. “He needs to be a second front runner – once we went with the 4-4-2 look, he really showed how big of a threat he can be. Slobo has been training very well as of late, and he earned an opportunity tonight.”
Aleksov, who started his second game of the season, wasted no time giving the Flames the early momentum with a fifth minute goal. From the right side of the field, sophomore Jesus Torres crossed the ball into freshman Kyle Lindberg, who played the ball to Aleksov. He finished a left-footed strike to the far post for his first career goal. Torres and Lindberg were both credited with assists on the play.
Less than 90 seconds later, Aleksov gave the Flames a 2-0 lead on a similar counter. Lindberg had possession on the right side of the 18-yard box, and strategically played a ball to Aleksov’s outside right foot – he finessed the ball to the near post, giving UIC its first two-goal advantage since jumping out to a 2-0 lead versus nationally-ranked Georgetown on September 7. Lindberg collected the assist, securing his third point of the season.
The Flames pushed their lead to 3-0 in the 47th minute, when Beard scored his second career goal. After the ball was crossed into the box, he put his right foot on a rebounded shot, completing an opportunistic scoring chance.
Loyola scored its lone goal in the 59th minute, when Jake Savino capitalized on a ball that was not cleared after a cross from the right side of the field.
UIC enjoyed numerous offensive chances, including a pair of shots that hit the crossbar. Piotr Lagowski also created a significant chance in the first half, taking a shot from just outside the 18-yard box that bent at the last second, clearing the crossbar by just inches.
Overall, the Flames held a decisive 19-6 advantage in shots, including seven shots-on-goal. UIC also held a 4-1 advantage on corner kicks, and forced Loyola goalkeeper Tim Dobrowolski to make four saves.
UIC will travel to Des Moines, Iowa to take on Drake Saturday night (7 p.m. CST).