JJ Williams scored with two minutes remaining to rescue all three points in the form of a 2-1 victory for the No. 3 Kentucky men’s soccer team at Florida Atlantic on Sunday.
With the victory, UK set up a “Conference USA Decision Day” next Friday at The Bell. The Wildcats remained level with Old Dominion atop the league table on 18 points (three points for a win, one for a draw, zero for a loss) through seven rounds of games.
The two league leaders will meet Friday in Lexington with kickoff set for 7 p.m. ET.
The winner would win the C-USA Regular-Season title outright.
Williams collected a Kalil ElMedkhar pass from the right flank and turned in the box to finish at the near post with 2:09 of the regulation 90 minutes remaining on the clock.
Williams has scored in each of UK’s last five games – all of them victories. He has a team-high 14 goals overall this season. ElMedkhar supplied his team-leading seventh assist.
Jason Reyes opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark finding space by executing a give-and-go with Nicolai Fremstad at the edge of the box. From there he left the FAU goalkeeper flat-footed with right-footed curling effort into the right side-netting.
But the hosts would not go quietly into the ideal midday weather conditions, forcing a tremendous save from UK goalkeeper Enrique Facusse on the hour and then finding the equalizer 10 minutes later with a rebound finish.
Kentucky (14-1-1, 6-1-0 C-USA) won its fifth match in a row. FAU’s won-lost-drawn record dropped to 2-11-0 (1-5-0 C-USA).
Kentucky’s team goals-against-average, which ranked No. 3 in the nation entering the weekend, dropped by .04 to .49.
Facusse, whose save percentage ranked third in the nation entering the weekend made four saves – including a brilliant stop around the hour mark – to maintain his 85-percent clip.
Williams has a conference-leading 14 goals on the season, which moved him to within two of Greg Kotzbauer’s UK single-season record. He has a UK-record seven game-winners this season, the second most in the nation.
He also moved into a tie with Kotzbauer for most points by a Wildcat in a season (33).
The junior’s 20 career goals rank sixth on the UK all-time list.
“Credit to FAU,” assistant coach Josh Oldroyd said. “They battled. It took some discipline. We had to battle for a long time, especially in the second half, but credit to JJ, Jason, Nicolai (Fremstad) and Kalil – the attacking players we have. As Coach Cedergren always talks about, they were dynamic in the attack.
“They proved it there with two minutes to go. It looked as though it was going to overtime. Kalil breaks through, Tanner (Hummel) started bombing forward to try and get on the overlap and then JJ did what he does in the box. That’s why he’s scored so many goals this season. I thought it was a good performance at times, but I think we’re looking forward to a week off now before we play Old Dominion. We can prepare with some little bits and pieces for the final game of the regular season.”
Kentucky leads FAU in the overall series 6-0-1 and 2-0-1 in Boca.
The Wildcats have outscored the Owls 19-3 all time and hold a four-game winning streak against FAU.
For the latest on the Kentucky men’s soccer team, follow @UKMensSoccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.
‑ GO CATS –
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