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Pitt Men’s Soccer puts Fairleigh Dickinson away for 5-1 Victory

Pitt men's soccer midfielder Filip Mirkovic

PITTSBURGH — Pitt men’s soccer used a great second half, that saw contributions from many players, against Fairleigh Dickinson to earn a 5-1 victory at Ambrose Urbanic Field Monday night.

The Panthers (3-2-2) make it back-t0-back victories at home with the win, as they defeated an ACC foe in the Wake Forest Demon Deacons last time out on Sept. 9. It also makes it three straight games unbeaten for the Panthers, who drew last Friday on the road at Boston College. This was also the first meeting ever between the Panthers and the Knights (3-2-2).

Pitt got a great chance early, as a Fairleigh Dickinson player committed a handball offense in the box, leading to a penalty. Junior forward Luis Sahmkow slotted it nicely to the right of graduate goalkeeper Spencer King to give Pitt the lead in the 4th minute. That goal from the spot was the third goal and the third on a penalty for Sahmkow this season, all at home.

The Panthers would have most of the chances in the first half, with 12 total shots and five on goal, but failed to make most of them. They struggled to finish in the final third with Sahmkow missing some easy opportunities, King saving a free kick from senior midfielder Filip Mirkovic and then a cross from senior midfielder Felipe Mercado to junior midfielder Luka Kozomara for a header that King also saved.

Fairleigh Dickinson got a great chance when sophomore defender Jeffrey Marquez stole it off of Mirkovic and then progressed down the pitch. Sophomore forward Matt Giraldo received the ball and put a beautiful cross in for senior forward Tony Gomez who put in a glancing header to tie the game at 1-1 in the 42nd minute.

With the clock winding down into the first half, the Panthers had one last shot to score. Mirkovic hurried to take the corner and put it into the box, finding graduate midfielder Joao Souza, who headed it into the goal to make it 2-1 with one second left.

The second half saw Pitt extend its lead and absolutely dominate Fairleigh Dickinson to get the victory.

FDU senior defender Eugenio Garcia cut out a pass from Mirkovic to Kozomara, but Sahmkow got onto it and blasted it into the back of the net first time for his second goal of the game in the 48th minute.

Sahmkow would complete his hat-trick in the 52nd minute, as he got onto the end of a cross from junior defender Mateo Maillefaud with a simple tap-in.

That hat trick for Sahmkow is the first for Pitt since Edward Kizza did it in 2018 against Cleveland State in a 4-3 loss at home. Those two goals in open play are the first two for him this season, as the previous three goals he scored came from the penalty spot.

Sahmkow thanked his teammates for putting him in good positions to score in the second half and is glad to finally be scoring from open play this season.

“I’ve definitely been thinking about that,” Sahmkow said on scoring from open play. “I’ve been trying to get into good situations. Just been getting unlucky and now I have to finish the ball more. But today, showed out, put the ball into the back of the net. Felt good.”

Junior forward Abdoulaye Touré also got his first goal as a Panther himself in the 71st minute. Mirkovic found Kozomara, who shot on goal, but King couldn’t control the shot and it bounced right into the feet of Touré for an easy score.

Panthers head coach Jay Vidovich liked the response he saw from his team giving up the goal and scoring right at the half to set the tone for the next 45 minutes.

“I thought we started the game very strong,” Panthers head coach Jay Vidovich said. “We were pushing, creating situations, created a [penalty kick]. Then we kind of lost of our identity and tried to do too much, but again, it’s very difficult to play against a team who’s sitting back and taking up space. That was a good opportunity to give a lot of people different minutes and experience.”

The hat trick from Sahmkow is something that Vidovich also harped on and said that a collective team effort with possession of the ball paid off against Fairleigh Dickinson.

“I think it’s key for our team,” Vidovich said. “Start getting more pay off from our run of play. We’ve dominated in possession in every game we’ve played and we’ve come short in that area. So it’s something we’re trying to address as a team and the guys are trying to address individually.”

Mirkovic finished with four assists in the win, tying him for the program record with Mark Nigh. who did it in 1978 against Gannon. He is now up to six assists on the season and with 25 total assists, he is second all-time at Pitt and one off the record.

“I feel good out there,” Mirkovic said on his performance. “I’m getting on the ball out there, creating a lot of stuff, few assists here and there. Really happy with how we’re playing. Just have to keep going now.”


Pitt will travel to take on rival and reigning National Champions in No. 7 Syracuse on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

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