Dons Still in for WCC Title, but Must go Through Washington and Oregon

The USF men’s soccer team are one step closer in fighting for the West Coast Conference title. With only five games left to win the conference, the stakes are high. The Green and Gold travelled to Gonzaga on Friday in their first of five games.


The Dons had five shots on target in the first half, compared to Gonzaga’s four. Nothing would fall the Dons’ way until they finally conversed in the 72nd minute. Manny Padilla hit a beautiful cross into the box, which was then headed into the back of the net by Bryce Kaminski. Unfortunately for the Dons, Gonzaga was right behind them.

Four minutes later, Zags’ Sam Olson equalized with a low driven shot from outside the box. The game looked like it would remain tied until the 83rd minute. USF’s Leon Schwarzer sprinted down the right sideline, and laid it off to Aaron Lombardi, who lead Sean Bowman to rocket one past Gonzaga’s keeper for his sixth goal of the season.


The Green and Gold were not done there. Seven minutes later, Tawwab Emiola scored the final goal securing the Dons’ victory. Emiola’s goal was his first of the season.


We controlled the entire match and to give away the goal we did when up 1-0 was not great, but I was proud to see them regroup and create two fantastic goals,” said USF head coach Eddie Soto in an post-game interview with USF Athletics.


The Dons’ traveled yet again over the weekend, this time to Portland, Ore. to battle the Pilots who also came off a win on Friday night.


The Dons came out sprinting and wasted no time in scoring two of their five shots in the first half. Emiola netted his second of the weekend within the first two minute of the game off a rebound from a shot off the post from Bryce Kaminski.


Portland drew the game level in the 40th minute from a corner kick. Rey Ortiz lofted one into the box where the ball bounced around and fell to Matthew Coffey who slid one past Ruben Stuiver.


However, the Dons were quick to respond. Schwarzer neted his fifth of the season in the 42nd minute from an assist by Padilla. This goal brings Schwarzer into tied for second on the team in scoring with Santiago Digiuseppe behind Bowman.


Digiuseppe follows Schwarzer and Emiola’s trend and nets the third goal and clinching the game for the Dons in the 59th minute from an assist from Lombardi.


After the game, Soto responded to USF Athletics. “There’s a lot more still to do before the end of the season, and we’ll look to build off this weekend,” he said.


With this well-deserved win, the Dons conference record jumps to 3-1 on the year. With a record like this, the Dons might have a chance at the West Coast Conference championship. The Green and Gold hope to continue their three game win streak in Southern California against San Diego, the second place team in the WCC (as of Oct. 29).


Featured Photo: GK Ruben Stuiver (left) and GK Coach Patryk Tenorio (right) pregame donsathletics Flickr


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