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Temple overcomes early deficit to down South Florida in first game in 14 months

Jalen Campbell led the Owls attack with two crucial goals

Jalen Campbell led the Owls with a brace in their 2021 opener
Matt Ralph

Conceding early is rarely a recipe for success on the road, but Temple was able to overcome a goal in the 5th minute and hold on to seal a key conference road win in their first game in 14 months Saturday night.

The Owls traveled to South Florida to open the season and dug themselves an early hole when Victor Claudel put the Bulls up in the fifth minute but a mistake in the back gave the visitors an opening to even the score at the 30-minute mark. It started as a routine play with Bulls goalkeeper Cooper Blay passing the ball out of the back, but his pass to a defender was too heavy and Brady O’Connor reacted quickly to intercept the pass and set up Jalen Campbell for the quick finish in the box.

Less than three minutes later, Owls left back Esteban Suarez floated a long ball from the left flank into the box and Amir Cohen was right there with the finish first time to beat Blay.

Just after halftime, Philadelphia native Josue Monge, a Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grad, delivered the equalizer with a strike from distance off a pass from Oscar Resano that found him in space streaking toward the goal.

With both teams pushing for a winner, it was Campbell with the flick on the end of a Mike Eijgendaal cross that ended up being the decisive goal.

Campbell’s two goals doubled his tally from the 2019 season and ensured that the first game for the program in 451 days resulted in all three points.

“We committed to everyone being ready,” head coach Brian Rowland was quoted saying after the match. “I think we showed a ton of heart, and a ton of character. To come back twice, we scored two goals in a row. The weather created a difficult environment, while playing a team that was pushing late to find a way to tie the game. All those things are the things you can’t replicate in training. So to pass that test and get through it is a credit to the team”

The Owls will host UCF in their first home game of the season at Temple Soccer Complex on Saturday, at 7 p.m. The Knights lost their season opener at home 1-0 to Tulsa.

Villanova beats Akron at Highmark Stadium

While Temple was the only local team playing an official game over the weekend, Villanova traveled across the state to take on Akron in a closed door exhibition match on Saturday at Highmark Stadium, the home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. They won the match 1-0 behind a goal from freshman forward Akinjide Awujo.