To cap off non-conference play, UC Irvine men’s soccer traveled to Oregon to take on Oregon State on Thursday and Portland on Sunday. The ‘Eaters sought to gain momentum heading into Big West conference play.
Prior to this week, the UC Irvine men’s soccer team has never come away from Oregon State with a victory, and had not registered a win in a non-conference match away from home since September 2014. They changed that on Thursday with a 1-0 victory over the Beavers at Lorenz Field in Corvallis, Oregon, and rerouted their season’s trajectory with their first win since their home opener way back on September 2nd.
Junior Giovanni Godoy led the way for UCI with 4 shots including 2 on target, and nearly put the ‘Eaters ahead in the early going but missed an open net putting the ball over the crossbar.
The ‘Eaters ended the first half with a 4-2 shot advantage but failed to find the back of the net.
The drama of an action-packed second half began when Oregon State defender Davis Chimento committed a hard foul on the ‘Eaters’ senior midfielder Michael Sperber by the sideline in the 53rd minute. Chimento was shown a red card and UCI looked to capitalize against the 10-man side.
Two minutes later, senior defender Thomas Janjigian fired a cross into the box that was finished by junior Mario Ortiz, putting the ‘Eaters up 1-0.
While UCI kept the pressure on the depleted OSU side with a 4-0 corner kick advantage in the second half, it was freshman goalkeeper Alex Waldron who stepped up in his first career start to protect the lead for the ‘Eaters.
Oregon State was awarded a penalty kick in the 75th minute after sophomore midfielder Daniel Crisostomo committed a foul on the edge of the box. Beaver forward Jordan Jones attempted the kick but was denied by Waldron, preserving the 1-0 score that would eventually be the final.
Waldron finished with four total saves as the UCI defense registered their second clean sheet of the season.
Men’s Soccer ended their non-conference slate and road trip to Oregon with a disappointing 4-1 loss to Portland on Sunday afternoon at Merlo Field. UCI could not handle the Portland attack, especially forward Benji Michel who knocked in two goals on four shots, all of which were on target. The ‘Eaters failed to keep the momentum going after upsetting Oregon State, and move to 2-7 as they gear up for conference play.
The Pilots jumped out to an early lead in the first half as Michel rolled one past freshman keeper Alex Waldron in the 14th minute for his fourth goal of the season. The score was assisted by fellow forward Jackson Jellah, and the Pilots held a 1-0 advantage heading into halftime.
Portland struck again in the 61st minute off of a set piece that defender Dirk Van Der Velde headed home to strengthen their cushion to two.
Pilot midfielder Eddie Sanchez put the game out of reach in the 73rd minute, putting his team up 3-0 with an unassisted blast from outside the box. Sanchez finished the match with two assists to go along with his third goal of the year.
Junior midfielder Giovanni Godoy was finally able to stop the bleeding for the ‘Eaters by converting a penalty kick in the 81st minute, his second goal of the season.
Portland added a final goal for good measure in the 90th minute as Michel completed his brace with a shot from 18 yards out.
UCI finishes non-conference play at 2-7, and despite a poor record, the ‘Eaters’ postseason hopes still rely on how they can perform in Big West play. UCI kicks off their conference schedule with two matches at home this week against Sacramento State and UC Davis.