UC Santa Barbara Snatches 90th-Minute Decision from Cal Poly
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A 77th-minute goal by Cal Poly men's soccer junior midfielder Cameron Walters leveled the scoreline late, but UC Santa Barbara junior midfielder Luis Silva secured a 2-1 victory for the hosts with a goal 53 seconds from time on Tuesday evening at Harder Stadium.
Junior goalkeeper Patrick McLain made a career-high 11 saves for Cal Poly (4-5-2, 1-2-1), which saw its winless streak at Harder Stadium extended to 12-straight matches. UC Santa Barbara (6-3-2, 3-1-0), which outshot Cal Poly 18-11, furthered its unbeaten run against the Mustangs to seven-consecutive matches.
It was the Mustangs who enjoyed the choice opportunities to open match with senior forward Junior Burgos unleashing a shot wide of the left post during the third minute. Ten minutes later, Burgos picked out junior Tim White with a free kick from nearly 40 yards, but the midfielder's sliding attempt again bypassed the left post.
Cal Poly's lone shot on target of the opening half came during the 20th minute, but Gaucho freshman goalkeeper Eric Reyes – deputizing for the suspended Sam Hayden – successfully turned away Burgos.
Equal to the task at the other end of Harder Stadium was McLain, who recorded six first-half saves. In the 21st minute, the Wisconsin native cancelled out a breakaway attempt by UC Santa Barbara sophomore forward Michael Nonni before diving horizontally during the 33rd to stop a header by sophomore forward Sam Garza.
McLain, however, saved his best efforts for the closing minutes of the first half. In the 43rd minute, UC Santa Barbara freshman forward David Opoku turned freshman Connor Drechsler with a lob over the top of the defender, but a sprawling McLain closed down his breakaway attempt. Seconds later, McLain stopped junior defender James Kiffe's shot attempt to keep the scoreboard at zeros.
The UC Santa Barbara onslaught eventually produced the game's opening goal in the 50th as Garza took possession of a Cal Poly turnover near midfield and dribbled unchecked before unleashing his fifth goal of the season into the top-right portion of the Mustang goal.
Cal Poly's offense stirred during the 61st as Burgos crossed a pass in to Zamora who slammed a headed attempt off the left post. A second attempt by junior center back Patrick Sigler moments later was halted by a flopping Reyes before Zamora ended the sequence by nodding another attempt over the crossbar.
Cal Poly finally broke through in the 77th as White sent a diagonal pass from the right side of the Gaucho penalty area toward Walters (above), who charged through the box and rammed his second goal of the season past Reyes.
McLain, who made five additional saves during the second half, kept the match deadlocked with another diving save in the 81st to stop Gaucho junior midfielder Danny Barrera.
Eight minutes later, however, Silva ended the match by latching on to a pass from sophomore midfielder Michael David, splitting a pair of Cal Poly defenders and burying a shot into the lower left corner.