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Spanish duo lead Temple in first season at new stadium

Previewing the Temple men’s soccer season

Jorge Gomez Sanchez
Matt Ralph

Record in 2015: 10-7-2 overall, 2-6-0 in American Athletic Conference
Head Coach: David MacWilliams
Key Losses: Midfielders Jared Martinelli, Justin Stoddart and Dinho Zwane
Key Returners: Forward Jorge Gomez Sanchez, midfielders Hermann Doerner and Belal Mohammed, goalkeeper Alex Cagle, defenders Matt Mahoney, Brendon Creed and Carlos Moros Gracia
Key Additions: Midfielders Zach Brown and Albert Moreno, forward George McGee, defender Wilson Gonzalez
MLS Academy Players: Wilson Gonzalez and Belal Mohamed (Philadelphia Union), Matt Mahoney and Tarek Fayed (New York Red Bulls)
Key Matches: Rider away (Sept. 10), UConn away (Sept. 24), Penn State away (Sept. 27), Villanova home (Oct. 4), SMU away (Oct. 8), Tulsa home (Oct. 22), UCF home (Oct. 29) and South Florida away (Nov. 5)

Last season was a Jekyll and Hyde year for the Owls. They started out the year turning heads nationally by jumping into the Top 25 with a 7-0-1 start, but only had three more wins in their final 11 matches. A 4-0 loss to UConn in the American Athletic quarterfinals ended things on an especially sour note after such a strong start.

A big reason for the Owls early surge was the play of newcomer Jorge Gomez Sanchez, who burst onto the college soccer scene with 13 goals and five assists after transferring from a university in Spain. He has one year of eligibility left and a chance to prove last year was no fluke while also possibly warranting a pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. But he’ll have to do it this year with a target on his back from other teams around the league.

While Gomez Sanchez is the threat going forward, it’s a fellow countryman who will anchor the back line in Carlos Moros Gracia, who also transferred to the Owls from a university in Spain ahead of last season. A Philadelphia Soccer Six All-Star last season, Moros Gracia spent the better part of his youth (13 seasons) playing for Valencia C.F. in Spain.

Second-year midfielders Hermann Doerner, a former Germany U18 player who came up with Eintracht Frankfurt in his native country, and Belal Mohamed, who spent time in the Philadelphia Union youth setup while at Lehigh Valley United, will also be key. On the defensive end, third-year goalkeeper Alex Cagle will have an experienced defense in front of him that includes senior right back Matt Mahoney and the aforementioned Moros Gracia.

Newcomers to watch will include rangy midfielder Zach Brown, who has shown well in preseason, and international players Albert Moreno and George McGee. Moreno spent time in the Barcelona FC, RCD Espanyol and CE Sabadell youth systems in Spain and McGee was the leading scorer three out of his five years with Birmingham City FC Academy in England. Junior college transfer Wilson Gonzalez, a defender who spent time with the Union Academy and was a standout at Montgomery County Community College, will also be one to watch.

The Owls kick off their season in their new home near campus on Broad and Master streets on Friday, August 26, at 4 p.m. against Manhattan. They’ll play their first night game at the new facility on October 1 at 7 p.m. against Memphis.