AKRON, Ohio – Akron's Joao Moutinho scored twice and the Zips downed SIUE men's soccer 3-1 in Mid-American Conference play at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Cougars dipped to 6-7 overall and 1-1 in the MAC. Akron improved to 8-3-1 and also is 1-1 in the MAC.
Akron, ranked 12th in the most recent TopDrawerSoccer.com poll, got on the board early when Marcel Zajac found the back of the net in the 2nd minute. Zajac hit it a curling shot from the penalty spot after a centering-pass from Skye Harter.
"With the exception of the first two minutes, I am proud," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "We were aggressive and we attacked."
After a giveaway by the Zips' defense, Jorge Gonzalez leveled the score for the Cougars in the 60th minute. He collected his team-leading fifth goal of the year after Devyn Jambga fed a short pass to Gonzalez who slotted it home at the near post.
"We wanted to press them high," Sanchez said. "We thought it would pay it off. (Jorge) buried it. In front of goal he is as good as anyone in the country."
Akron went back on top less than two minutes later after a corner kick. SIUE goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo punched the crossing kick high into the air. Joao Moutinho headed it home from just five yards out.
"To give up the goal so quickly after scoring was a bit deflating," Sanchez said.
Moutinho made 3-1 in the 73rd minute. The goal again came after Zips' corner kick. Dal Santo punched the ball towards the top of the box where Pau Belana hit a right-footed shot. Moutinho redirected it home for the two-goal lead.
"At 1-1 we were gaining momentum," Sanchez added. "It's disappointing because we have been good at defending set pieces lately."
SIUE returns home for a 7 p.m. match Wednesday with IUPUI, the final nonconference game of the season.
"We need to be an aggressive team and we were tonight," Sanchez said. "I am happy with the mentality of the group. As we get later in the season, I am seeing signs of a team I like."