Sunday, September 2, 2012

No. 4 Gauchos blank Gonzaga, 3-0; Oregon State cruises to 6-0 win

Big shutout wins Sunday for UCSB and Oregon State at Gonzaga Nike Classic | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
The fourth-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos were tested Friday by Oregon State and again Sunday by host Gonzaga before breaking free in the final 10 minutes to finish 3-0 winners. A Nic Ryan strike a half-hour in kept the Gauchos in command before two strikes in the final 10 minutes from Achille Campion and Goffin Boyoko secured the victory.

But most of that did not matter thanks to the team's depth and the play of Dion Acoff, who led the way for UCSB on the day, continually finding space on the left side and using his speed to get around the Gonzaga defense to create opportunities in the box. He was an immediate factor in the match, working his way in on the left side and delivering the ball across the six that went unfinished, though it would eventually be collected on the right side by Ema Boateng, whose shot from a tight angle was saved by Ryan Caballero.

UCSB's Acoff was a difficult player to stop
"Very good player, probably as good a player as I have seen in years I would say," Gonzaga head coach Einar Thorarinson said of Acoff. "I have not seen a kid like that that has both speed and touch on the ball."

In the 16th minute a free kick from midfield was directed down the left side to Boateng, who sent a square ball to the near post where Acoff was unable to poke it past Caballero from close range.

A turnover at midfield created the first goal with the ball being played out to the left side to Acoff, who squared it in to Ryan for a shot that was placed into the upper right corner from the top of the area.

Four minutes later Acoff was at it again with a nother chance, cutting past a defender on the left flank with a great move, but another shot from a tough angle 10 yards out proved to be a routine stop for the keeper.

"It’s unbelievable, his first touch," said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "And it’s funny because he doesn’t really need much of a move because within five steps just his push off the five steps he beats you off that. Some guys need a little while to get going; some guys need to beat you off the touch; but he just needs to face forward and play it in front of you a little bit. I think he’ll be the first one to tell you he just missed the shot in the second half. He had two good looks in the first half. He’s very, very dangerous and you almost have to bring a second defender over to stop him." 

Right before the break the Zags thought they had an equalizer on a slowly-built counter that started on the right and switched to the left just after crossing midfield. It was played inside the box to Conner Bevans, who battled to maintain possession while trying to find space in the box before finally dishing it off. The ball would pop out on the play to Parker Victor, who had an open look from the spot only to see his effort denied with a diving save by Austin Mansker.

Acoff sent a shot just wide of the far post in the 59th and 19-yard free kick in the 72nd minute from Pierre Rapolt forced Caballero into a nice diving save.

"I thought that, once again, we had some good opportunities when we broke around the corner," said Vom Steeg. "I thought Dion Acoff was very good; he got around the corner four or five times. We just didn’t make that last pass."

Gonzaga, meanwhile, was getting chance after chance on set pieces in the attacking third from corners, deep throws and free kicks, but could not find the final touch or shot to level terms.

"I thought the momentum was swinging our way when we had the pk called against us - unfortunate," said Thorarinsson. "They are a very good team; talented, quick team. We had difficulty handling their quickness."

Then, in the 80th minute the Zags' backs were broken when Campion was tripped as he drove into the box, sending the Gauchos to the spot. With the keeper going the wrong way, Campion’s shot to the lower right corner rolled easily into the side netting.

"As long as the score stays 1-0 or it’s a one goal game, the other team is only one throw-in or a free kick or a mistake away from tying it up, said Vom Steeg. "So at that point they got a lot of energy to try to get that last goal; and you saw what happened when we that second goal goes in - that’s it, that’s the push. Three straight games, three times where we needed one goal to finish a game, and at least today we got it."

Seven minutes later the visitors capped the game with a free kick about five yards out from the right corner. The low ball was sent in by Boateng, skimming across the six uncontested by Caballero, allowing Boyoko to finish off the far post.

The visitors rebounded well from Friday’s 2-2 draw despite losing two key players during the contest.  Less than a minute into the match midfielder Peter McGlynn was forced to come out of the game after a head injury and never returned due to concussion precautions. Nine minutes into the second half the team’s tall 6-6 center back Peter Schmetz was knocked out of the game with a hip injury.

Tim Vom Steeg pleased with team's depth
"I said it to our local press and everywhere else, this is the deepest team I have coached in 14 years," said Vom Steeg. "If you look at what happened in that game, I lost my d-mid and I brought in a player who we all think might play at the next level in Michael David so it’s not like we were substituting one for another. Michael David steps in and plays a great game and then Schmetz hasn’t missed a game in a year-and-a-half for us, but we were able to bring in Pierre at left center back and he kept it solid. This is a very deep team and today, like a lot of games where you play on Sunday, you end up finding out how good your deep team is.

Vom Steeg expects that the injuries suffered this weekend, including Fifi Baiden from Friday, will have a short-term affect on the team.

On the other side it was a bit of good news on the day regarding Nate Pacheco, who was injured on Friday. He will likely only be out a couple of weeks for Gonzaga as the knock turned out to just be a turned ankle. Even better considering the Zags are idle next weekend after facing teams on consecutive weekends that are currently ranked and tournament contenders. 

"Any time you take a team on the road in college soccer (it is going to be tough); and we faced two teams that were very organized in the back, they were disciplined in the back," said Vom Steeg. "Neither team, either Friday or today, committed a lot of players forward except on a breakout of which both teams were dangerous because when they broke out that’s when they could get some openings.

"With that, I thought that on Friday, we were starting literally with six new starters, and this is the third game now in which we… first two games we had, we went into halftime with the lead and really didn’t hold onto those leads. And it happened again today where we went in halftime and talked about finishing the game. Do what we did in the first half in the second half, and if no other goal goes in then that’s fine, we’ll win 1-0.

"It’s how you have to play on the road, but again both these teams are well coached, organized and disciplined. Today in particular this reminds us a lot of playing a UC Davis where it’s an afternoon game against a home team, and it’s a tough place to play."

Oregon State University 6 :: 0 Manhattan College

In the earlier contest of the day, the Beaver cruised to an easy victory with three goals in each half against the visitors from New York. Six different players scored with Roberto Farfan tallying two assists while Jake Parker and Khiry Shelton each had a goal and an assist. Starting keeper Matt Bersano was not forced to make a single save before exiting at the hour mark for Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, WA), who made two stops in the final half-hour.

Scoring Summary:
OSU: Khiry Shelton (Roberto Farfan) 3
OSU: Mikhail Doholis (Khiry Shelton) 33
OSU: Chase Raskowsky (Jake Parker) 38
OSU: Colin Mitchell (Roberto Farfan) 49
OSU: Mike Reckmeyer (Travis Anderson) 54
OSU: Jake Parker (Daniel Van Vleet) 69