Men's soccer vs. Stanford, Sload (24)

Forward Christian Sload (24) protects the ball from Stanford player Zach Ryan (14) during the men's soccer game against Stanford at Jeffery Field on Aug. 30, 2019.

On a night where not much went Penn State’s way, the team was lucky to escape Orlando with a 2-2 draw.

The team looked flat to start the match and often looked like it was one step behind the opposition.

But the Nittany Lions were able to hang in the game and fight long enough as the defense and goalie Josh Levine picked the offense up.

Penn State was steeply outshot 19-7 and often it seemed like the Knights would put the match away with a game winner.

But the team ultimately showed grit and determination as it refused to drop its second match of the season. 

The offensive woes showed their head against UCF but the team was still able to draw 2-2

Although the Nittany Lions were able to overcome their struggles as they capitalized on the minimal chances they had in the attacking end, UCF dominated the possession battle for a large portion of the match.

The Knights pressed hard to begin the match and had the ball in their attacking third for most of the first thirty minutes.

They buried an early chance as star forward Cal Jennings gave UCF a 1-0 lead off a beautiful cross into the middle.

Sloppy play had been a problem for the Nittany Lions on Friday as constant giveaways and ineffective passes led to extended offensive zone time for UCF.

With the departures of Jeremy Rafanello and Ethan Beckford, possession has been a bit of an issue so far this year for the Lions.

Penn State capitalized on opportunities that came its way

The dominance continued from the Knights until Penn State got the break it needed in the 31st minute.

A UCF trip in the box led to Penn State taking advantage of one its lone opportunities as Aaron Molloy put a penalty kick past goalkeeper Yannik Oetll to tie the score at one.

That had been the only Nittany Lion shot up to that point and it turned out to be a spark they needed as the team continued to press into the UCF end.

The Hermann Trophy hopeful played up to expectations Friday night, showing off his skill along with his phenomenal open field speed.

The teams went to the half with the Knights having the one-goal lead and coming out of the gate to start the second half UCF looked like it would continue to win the possession battle.

But once again, Penn State took advantage of one of its few chances as senior forward Christian Sload blasted one over the outstretched Oetll from well outside the box.

The Nittany Lions struggled to gather momentum off of their goals

The Nittany Lions continued to lose possession in the middle of the field and were not able to generate anytime of attack with the remaining time.

Penn State sat back on its heels for most of the second half and overtime, forcing the defense to step up and save the game.

Without the threat of the Nittany Lion offense, it felt as if UCF would break the tie at any moment but the defense, as well as goalie Josh Levine, stood its ground and ensured that Penn State would not leave Orlando with a loss.

The attack is going to have to step up in order for the Nittany Lions to be successful this season and gaining quality possession is the start of that.

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