Coming off of a big overtime win against Gonzaga on Friday night the Dons had the right kind of momentum going into Sundays game vs. #25 Portland. The game started off well with the dons maintaining possession in Portland’s half of the field for the first 5 minutes. However, after that first five minutes things started to slow down for USF as the Pilots maintained possession. On a long goal kick from goalkeeper Brendan Roslund sophomore forward Tanner Smith used his head to flick-on a pass over the Pilot’s defense while Vinny Caloiaro ran on. Caloiaro collected the ball and accurately placed a shot in the bottom right corner of the goal.
After the goal the Pilot’s wasted no time in creating an equalizer. Six minutes later, in the 25th minute, Portland scored off of a free kick which was finished with a header by Portland forward #7 Ryan Kawulok. Post goal the Dons were looking off their game because of the quick response of Portland. Into the second half this continued as the ball was in the air the majority of the time being knocked back and forth. Portland had many offensive changes and USF was kept in the game by the outstanding efforts of their goalkeeper Brendan Roslund. Roslund was voted WCC Player of the Week for his great performance in both games over the weekend.
The second half was also very physical by both USF and Portland; multiple yellow cards were given out as well as a red card for a USF player Giijs Niehe leaving the Dons to play 10 versus 11. As the whistle blew the score was still tied 1-1 so the Dons, once again, prepared for overtime. In the sixth minute of over time Portland launched a shot that rattled the crossbar and bounced out. Roslund quickly wrapped up the rebound keeping the team in the game.
The second half of overtime was when the Dons picked up their play. They possessed and set up multiple chances, one being a cross into the box where a Portland player took down USF’s Vinny Caloiaro, resulting in a penalty kick. Number 11 Mauricio Diaz de Leon took the kick and confidently placed the shot in the bottom left corner winning the game for USF.
When asked about getting the game winning goal Diaz de Leon said, “It was great but the whole team got the win.” Also when asked about the fact that the team is so young Diaz de Leon said, “We might be young but we have character.” Something that USF’s head coach Erik Visser agrees with. “This young team has so much resilience, they find ways to win. We have a lot of depth as a team.” Now the Dons prepare for their next match against long time rival Santa Clara and hopefully this winning streak will continue. When asked about what this win means for the game vs. Santa Clara Coach Erik Visser said, “It’s a huge game but we play day by day.”