MIAMI – Kentucky freshmen Daniel Evans and Nicolai Fresmstad got on the scoresheet, but the No. 4 Wildcats allowed a season-high three goals to lose for the first time this season on Sunday at Florida International.
The Wildcats won-lost-drawn record dropped to 9-1-1 (3-1-1 Conference USA). The Panthers went to the top of the Conference USA table on 12 points, level with Old Dominion with a game in hand. FIU is 5-6-0 (4-0-0 C-USA).
Kentucky is 3-1-1 away from home.
The Wildcats conceded at least a goal in just the third match this year. UK has now allowed six goals overall, for a .53 goals-against average.
After going behind to a Santiago Patino header from a corner kick in the 15th minute, UK freshman Daniel Evans levelled proceedings 11 minutes before halftime.
His right-footed strike from outside the box when into the left upper-90 after JJ Williams won a ball in the midfield, Nicolai Fremstad poked it out of traffic to Kalil ElMedkhar who found Evans in space.
FIU retook the lead just after halftime as Joris Ahlinvi finished a Talla Faye cross. The hosts added to that lead in the 69th minute as Matias Barraza buried a rebound.
Fremstad scored the first goal of his Kentucky career in the 72nd minute, heading home an ElMedkhar corner kick from point-blank range.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” Kentucky Head Coach Johan Cedergren said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with losing at FIU. They’re a really good team, I think (FIU Head Coach) Kevin (Nylen) does a really great job down here, but I think for us – with the season we’re having and the way we’ve been playing – I thought that we were not anywhere close to the way we’ve played so far this year. And we knew with as young of a team as we have that there were going to be little bumps along the road.
But what I’m most disappointed in is it’s my responsibility to get the guys and I thought we were not ready today … The good thing is we have a whole week to get ready for what’s going to be an incredibly important conference game now (next Saturday at The Bell against Marshall).
Kentucky leads the all-time series against FIU 8-6-2.
Kentucky is winless in the last four matches against FIU.
FIU started its current run against UK in the 2015 C-USA Tournament a week after losing at The Bell to conclude the regular season. FIU won 1-0 in 2016 in Miami and the two teams drew 2-2 at The Bell last late October.
UK is 3-5-1 all-time when playing FIU in Miami.
Kentucky and FIU entered Sunday as the only two teams unbeaten in league play.
Cedergren named an unchanged starting 11 from the one that went on to win 3-0 against No. 2 Indiana at The Bell on Tuesday.