DALLAS (SMU) – In the 96th minute of the American Championship Game, the SMU men’s soccer team had another special moment.
After a late own goal allowed UCF to tie the game at 1-1, Junior Emil Cuello buried a 30-yard strike in the back of the net to claim the conference championship for the Mustangs (15-2-1) with an overtime golden goal. Cuello was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the tournament, contributing two goals for the Mustangs in as many games.
Jordan Cano, named Most Outstanding Defensive Player, opened up the scoring for the Mustangs. After SMU earned a corner kick, Jared Rice found Cano in the box, and Cano confidently headed it past the keeper.
One goal turned out to not be enough, as a Mustang miscue in the 87th minute led to an own goal and a tie game. An opponent scoring was an unfamiliar sight, as it was the first goal the Mustangs had allowed since October 7. However, the veteran SMU squad did not let it carry over into the overtime period.
SMU controlled the match throughout, with UCF struggling to breakdown the Mustangs’ stout backline. The Knights only managed one shot on goal, and goalkeeper Michael Nelson easily handled it. SMU threatened far more often, racking up 12 shots and 5 corners.
The Mustangs became the first team to ever win both the American regular season and tournament titles in the same year. The win gave SMU its first conference tournament title since 2011 and the first under head coach Kevin Hudson.
Six Mustangs were named to the All-Tournament team. Cuello, Cano, Rice and Nelson were joined by Bryce Clark and Nicky Hernandez.
SMU enters postseason play with more shutouts on the season (11) than goals allowed (9). SMU is on a 10-match unbeaten streak and is a perfect 12-0 this year at Westcott Field.
SMU (15-2-1) won the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship and will await their seeding for the Men’s College Cup. The NCAA Championship selection show is set for Monday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on www.ncaa.com.