Oct. 20, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's soccer team saw its bid for a second-half surge to get back into the West Coast Conference title chase take a detour Friday as the University of San Diego escaped with a 2-1 victory at a sun-baked Martin Field.
The Bulldogs (6-6-2; 3-4-1) had begun the WCC season 0-3-0 including a 4-0 setback at San Diego (8-5-1; 3-4-1) the opening weekend of conference action. But Gonzaga had gone undefeated in its last four matches, including a 0-0 tie with No. 17 Santa Clara University, to crawl back into the WCC chase at 3-3-1 heading into Friday.
But a pair of goals by the Toreros' Michael Caso, his sixth and seventh tallies of the season, gave USD their third straight road victory over the Bulldogs. The teams did not play in Spokane in 2005 as wet field conditions at Martin Field resulted in the teams playing both regular-season matches in San Diego during Gonzaga's trip south.
Caso scored his first goal at 27:03 to give the Toreros a 1-0 halftime edge. He took a through ball from Kevin Meissner on the left wing, Gonzaga keeper Vito Higgins came out to cut down the angle and Caso's shot got past Higgins, kissed off the near post and into the net.
Neither team generated much offense in the first half, USD getting four shots, the Bulldogs two and neither team having a solid scoring opportunity with the exception of Caso's tally.
USD stretched the lead to 2-0 early in the second half, Caso connecting at 52:40 off a free kick from 22 yards that went over the Bulldog wall and past Higgins, shoulder high into the net.
Gonzaga climbed back into the contest at 63:13 when Tye Perdido scored his third goal of the season and his second in as many matches. He took a pass from Ben Funkhouser on the left wing and shot to the far post pass an out-stretched Lance Friesz in the USD goal.
Gonzaga had a couple of excellent scoring chances for the equalizer. John Reha's shot was knocked out of harms way by a defender, and Perdido had an open look from 8 yards, his hard shot tipped over the crossbar by Friesz for his best of his two saves in the match. His other save came in the 49th minute when George Josten got off a shot in a melee in front of the goal, Friesz diving backward and corralling the ball before it crossed the goal line.
Reha had another good look in the 75th minute, dribbling into the middle of the 18, dropping a pass to Reha who had his shot from 10 yards blocked by the defense.
Gonzaga also had a man advantage for the final 1:17 when USD's Tim Grey picked up his second yellow card of the match, with carries with it an automatic red card. But the Bulldogs were unable to mount a serious attack.
The shots were even at eight aside and both keepers had two saves.
Gonzaga will return to action Sunday at 1 p.m. when Loyola Marymount University visits Martin Field.