In their first two games of the season away from home, the Dons had a difficult time capturing a victory. On Sunday, USF struggled against the aggressive play of the UC Davis Aggies and dropped the match 1-0 in Davis, California.
Setting the tone early on, UC Davis fired a goal into the center of the net in only the fifth minute of the game. San Francisco struggled for the rest of the first half, and found themselves defending their goal much of the time. The Aggies’ solid play limited the Dons’ attempts at scoring.
In the second half, USF was able to get the ball near the Aggies’ net. Sophomore midfielder Jesus Del Toro attempted to head the ball into the goal, but was thwarted by UC Davis goalie Omar Zeenni, who deflected the ball away from the net.
The Dons continued to scramble, trying to erase the 1-0 deficit. They made another attempt on goal in the 85th minute, when junior midfielder Kyle MacLeod tried to turn a corner kick into a scoring opportunity, but shot the ball wide left. As the game wound down, the Dons remained scoreless.
On Thursday, coming off their victory at home versus San Jose State, the Dons played on the road against the Sacramento State Hornets in a match that ended in a 1-1 tie.
The Hornets scored first in the 22nd minute of the game. Similar to the UC Davis game, San Francisco was forced to play from behind early on, but the Dons had a difficult time against the strong defense of the Hornets.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Sacramento State held a sizable 12-1 shot advantage over the Dons. At that point, USF began to turn up the heat, becoming more aggressive and pushing the ball down the field towards the Hornets’ goal as the second half continued.
San Francisco finally broke through in the 84th minute, when freshman forward David Garrett kicked the ball into the net off of his own rebound, after missing a previous shot. The match remained tied until the end of regulation, and the Dons forced the game into overtime.
In overtime, both teams played stellar defense and did not allow any goals. The pressure increased on USF as the game entered a second overtime, with fatigue playing a major role. The Dons were unable to notch another point on the scoreboard, but played tough enough defense to keep the Hornets from scoring again. When the final buzzer sounded, the score remained 1-1.
The Dons finished this weekend with a tie and a loss, changing their record to 3-2-1. USF has one more opportunity to sharpen their game before West Coast Conference play begins, with a final preseason game set for this Friday at 7 p.m. against Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.