TFC’s men’s soccer team and nearby rivals Piedmont College met in Demorest, Georgia, on Tuesday night for a non-conference showdown. The Eagles fell to Truett-McConnell 3-0 last Saturday, and the Lions (4-7) topped LaGrange College 2-1 prior to facing TFC. The visiting Eagles grabbed an early goal but struggled to maintain the speed of play against the NCAA DIII side. Ultimately, TFC (4-7) was downed by Piedmont 2-1.
Lenny Kroneman scored his first goal of the season less than five minutes into the match to give the Eagles the early lead. The Eagles pressed the Lions backline into forcing a turnover. Freshman Michael Bailey squared the loose ball to Kroneman, who slotted the ball past the oncoming keeper. Midway through the opening period, the Lions found their space and began to possess the ball and force TFC into turnovers of their own. The Lions equalized the match just before the intermission. In the 44′ minute, the Lions won a corner kick and Franklin Robinson squirted home the ball in the midst of a scrum in front of the TFC goal. At the half, the Lions held an 8-2 shot advantage.
The physical and often frantic match resumed in the same pace of which the first half end. Both sides had chances at goal, but neither were able to finish the winning goal. The Lions found that goal in in the 64th minute from another set piece. After an Eagles infraction in front of the Lions’ bench, Piedmont’s Vincent Thomas served the free kick onto Connor Lockridge’s head. Lockridge’s powerful header found the back of the net to secure the 2-1 victory. With the clock winding down, the Eagles continued to press and won three corners late in the match. TFC was unable to capitalize on their set pieces, and fell 2-1 in the end.
In the second half, the Lions earned a slim 4-3 shot advantage. Elijah Smith earned four saves on the night.This is the third consecutive season in which Piedmont College has topped TFC by a single goal. In 2011, Piedmont earned a late PK to win 2-1. And last season, the Lions were victorious 1-0.
TFC’s next match will be the “main event” of TFC’s homecoming weekend. The Eagles will host region rivals Clearwater Christian College on Friday night, following the women’s match with Johnson University at 5:00 PM. The homecoming court will be recognized at halftime of the men’s match.