Oct. 19, 2007
Los Angeles, CA - Junior Brad Stisser curled in a free kick as LMU battled back from a halftime deficit but San Francisco's Bryan Burke scored in the 70th minute to ruin the Lions' return home, 2-1, in a West Coast Conference match Friday afternoon at Sullivan Field in Los Angeles.
In a match-up of teams each looking for its first WCC win of the season, both sides spent the opening minutes feeling each other out, sending probing balls forward but without much result. The Lions (2-8-1, 0-4-0 WCC) were able to settle first, attempting the game's first four shots and forcing USF goalkeeper Eric Conner into his first save off a blast from senior Tyler Mehl.
USF (5-6-0, 1-3-0 WCC) came back with three straight shots of its own and grabbed the lead at 20:19. Daniel DeGeer had his attempt blocked and, after a scramble, the ball rolled out to Jeff Russell, whose shot from 18 yards snuck in the left post.
That would be it for the remainder of the half save for an effort by Stisser that was stopped by Conner just before the break. The 1-0 deficit marked the first time this season that the Lions had trailed at the half.
The second half was much more lively at both ends, starting with the Lions on the offensive. Baca got the Lions off to a promising start after he was put through with a defender on his back. His shot from 15 yards beat the keeper but rolled inches wide. Baca's near-miss inspired the Lions to keep up the pressure but they were unable to latch on to any penetrating crosses.
That all changed in the 65th minute when Mehl was sprung on the left side and was fouled as he bore down on the Don goal. From the resulting free kick, Stisser curled his shot towards the near post. Baca flew in and, although he did not connect, he did enough to distract Conner as the ball nipped past the goalie for the equalizer. It was Stisser's second goal of the season, both coming off free kicks.
After conceding the tying goal, San Francisco had a pair of chances to regain the lead. The first was an opportune cross mis-hit by DeGeer that bounced off the cross bar. Baca replied with a shot saved by Conner and a few minutes later, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Patrick Lane stretched high to his left to deny DeGeer on a 23-yard free kick.
The pressure from the Dons resulted in Burke's goal in the 70th minute. Conor Chinn's through-ball split the Lion defense to Burke, who pushed it past Lane for a 2-1 USF advantage.
Lane produced two more fantastic sprawling saves to keep the scoreline close before Mehl was handed a golden opportunity in the 85th minute. A back-pass from the USF defense forced Conner into a poor clearance with his left foot. The ball fell right to Mehl outside the area but Conner recovered in time to save the long-range effort.
Once struggling to score goals, the Lions have now gotten on the board in three straight matches but suffered their fourth straight defeat to open conference play. They look for their first WCC win on Sunday at 2 p.m. when they host Saint Mary's.