Sept. 29, 2006
Aaron Chandler scored his 13th career game winning goal with 36:40 to play to pace 23rd ranked USF to a 2-1 West Coast men's soccer victory over Gonzaga Friday night at Negoesco Stadium.
Things were not easy for the Dons (6-3-1, 1-2 WCC) as visiting Gonzaga (3-5-1, 0-3 WCC) got on the board first. WCC leading scorer George Josten passed the ball through the Dons' defense to a wide-open Grant Lundberg who beat Geremy Uhl from seven yards to give the guests a quick 1-0 lead at 24:53.
The Dons would score the tying goal less than five minutes later when Zags' goalkeeper Vito Higgins bowled over Chandler in the penalty box at 29:14. The Dons Rob Valentino was able to blast the free shot into the lower right corner to equal the score at 1-1.
USF, who outshot Gonzaga 15-8, 10-2 in the second half, was able to take the lead early in the second half. Ardalan Attar deflected a Jesse Henderson pass to Chandler running through the box. The senior striker took the pass and had no problem beating Higgins to the lower left to give USF the lead at 53:20.
USF was able to hold on as both teams had chances saved by their goalkeepers in the final minutes.
"We came out tonight like a team that had lost three straight," said Dons' head coach Erik Visser. "They were able to take advantage of our tentative play and take the early lead. However, we pulled it together and were able to battle back and get the win. There are no easy wins in a West Coast Conference matchup.
Chandler's goal also was his fourteenth career WCC goal which puts him in third place in the league record books, just two behind Gonzaga's Jeff McAllister who totaled 16 from 1994-97.
The game was also a matchup of the two WCC co-Coaches of the Year of last season, USF's Erik Visser and Gonzaga's Einar Thorarinsson.
USF will continue at home, facing Portland Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Negoesco Stadium.