Unable to match the intensity of Cal Poly, The Dons lost 2-1 to the Mustangs Friday, Sept. 19 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
It was evident that, from the start of the game, the Dons were a step slower than Cal Poly. Just ten minutes into the match, the Mustangs were threatening to score and challenging senior goalkeeper Chase Hauser. Hauser was able to save the first shot on goal, but the Dons found themselves down 1-0 two minutes later after Hauser deflected the ball towards the corner of the goal, where the Mustangs’ Joseph Bolous was able to drive it in.
Cal Poly continued to attack the San Francisco defense, taking a total of seven shots in the first half.
“We played scared, we played nervous,” head coach Eddie Soto told usfdons.com. “We never got ourselves into a rhythm. It took us too long to get going.”
Soto took his team into the locker room at the half knowing that he needed to raise the team’s level of play. Down 1-0 and being outplayed on the road, it would have been easy for the Dons to hang their heads and continue their lack of tenacity into the second half.
San Francisco did just the opposite, coming out of halftime as the aggressors and immediately pressuring the Cal Poly defenders. In the first seven minutes of the second half, freshman forward Bryce Kaminski and junior defender Joshua Smith each sent shots towards the goal, but both were batted away by Cal Poly goalkeeper Wade Hamilton.
The Dons relentless effort continued, and only a minute later, senior midfielder Danny Kirkland made a pass to fellow midfielder, junior Jesus Del Toro, who took a shot inside the penalty box. Del Toro’s shot narrowly missed the goal to the Dons’ dismay, and the score remained 1-0.
“We were patient, we were building, we were breaking them down,” Soto told usfdons.com. “It just didn’t happen”
After their push to tie the game was unsuccessful, San Francisco conceded another goal to Cal Poly in the 70th minute. Now down 2-0 with little time left, USF became desperate, scrambling to score a goal. In the 87th minute, Smith fired a shot from close range and was able to convert to make the score 2-1, but the Dons did not have enough time to complete the comeback.
San Francisco will attempt learn from its mistakes against Cal Poly when it hosts the UC Davis Aggies on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7:00 p.m. during Alumni Weekend 2014.