UT-Brownsville Men's Soccer Wins Home Opener

It's that time of year again, when the Scorpion men's soccer team goes on a mission.

Red River Athletic Conference men's soccer play got under way Thursday, and UTB/TSC went on a second half scoring splurge to coast to a physical and foul-filled 4-0 win over The University of St. Thomas at Scorpion Soccer Field.

The win was the third straight -- all by shutout -- for the Scorpions after an 0-3-1 start. UTB/TSC is now 1-0 in conference play.

UST just joined the RRAC after several years as an independent. The Celts were in their first-ever RRAC game and are now 0-4-1, 0-1.

Six days ago in Houston, the Scorpions scored twice in the second half for a 2-0 win.

"It was a bit of a strange game, and the 4-0 score really flatters us," Scorpion head coach Dan Balaguero said. "In the first half, St. Thomas was the better side and had the better chances. Our guys found a way to win, and at the end of the day, the game is all about taking chances and were better than St. Thomas in that department."

The first half of Thursday's game was scoreless for the first 33 minutes. A UST foul inside the penalty box -- one of 31 called on the night -- gave the Scorpions a chance to get on the scoreboard. Like he did last week five nights earlier in a 2-0 win over Oklahoma Christian University, Steve Howard converted on the opportunity. UTB/TSC led, 1-0, a score that would stand up at halftime.

The score stood that way for more than half of the second 45 minutes. Charly Menard, who entered the game in the 68th minute, scored in the 69th minute, with an assist by Nestor Morales to make it 2-0. It was Menard's first goal as a Scorpion.

"Once the second goal went in, the boys did a great job of not allowing the game to become a dogfight," Balaguero said. "In the previous two games that we were ahead 2-0, we never killed the game off. Tonight, once we got the second one, we were ruthless and played some intelligent soccer."

About four minutes later in the 74th minute, freshman Jorge Cantu checked into the game. Cantu had scored his first collegiate goal in the 2-0 win over Oklahoma Christian five days before.

Cantu got his magic again Thursday night. With another assist by Howard, Cantu got free and scored in the 85th minute. He added another three minutes later with an assist by Fredrik Ekvall to make it 4-0.

Thursday's game was the first home game for the Scorpions after starting the season with six road games. UTB/TSC hosts Wiley College at 1 p.m. Saturday in its next game.

"It was fun to play at home," Balaguero said. "The crowd was great, and I hope they come back Saturday."