Nov. 10, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Stephen Brown deflected in a corner kick by Joey Vitagliano with just 18 seconds remaining in regulation as 12th ranked New Mexico topped USF 1-0 in a first round men's soccer game at Negoesco Stadium in San Francisco. The Lobos advance to a second round game at California on Wednesday afternoon.
It was an evenly played game with USF (12-7-1) outshooting the Lobos (14-3-3) 13-12. The game appeared to be heading into overtime before the late strike by Brown for his fourth goal of the season.
The low corner kick got into the box where Brown was able to beat the USF defense to the near post and deflect the ball in off the side of his foot.
New Mexico goalkeeper Mike Graczyk recorded his eleventh shutout of the season, making three saves, including back-to-saves on USF's best scoring chances in the first half.
"When you have a special group of seniors and it comes to an end with 18 seconds left, it is a shock," said Dons' head coach Erik Visser. "We were a little indecisive on the final play and it cost us. We were a little tired in the second half, but we still believed we would be successful. The injuries in our midfield have really hurt our depth."
"I thought that forward Aaron (Chandler) was a little unlucky in the first half. I felt that his goal would come. But it's a cruel game," he concluded. "We challenged the team with a tough schedule and they proved we were on of the best teams in the country."
"I thought we played well," said Dons forward Aaron Chandler. "We had some great chances and didn't finish."
"I thought we defended well and they did not have as many chances in the second half," said WCC Player of the Year Rob Valentino. "We had miscommunication on the goal and it ended up costing us the game. It is too bad it was so late, because I felt we would have fought back."
"There was a great environment tonight," said Lobos Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein, "USF did a great job of hosting. I thought we came out very tentative, with a very young team with freshmen and sophomores starting. USF played a very strong first half and we were fortunate to finish the half tied. I thought we controlled the game in the second half and improved as the game went on. Joey Vitagliano made a great play on the corner kick and Stephen Brown made a great finish."
New Mexico, who reached the championship game last year, continued its Recent NCAA success. They advanced to the championship last season.
USF dominated the scoreless first half that featured many goal scoring chances for both teams.
In the third minute New Mexico's Blake Danaher had a shot go wide from seven yards that hit the side netting. Aaron Chandler, USF's leading scorer had the next two chances, first shooting wide in the 13th minute and then had a shot beat Lobo goalkeeper Mike Graczyk but being cleared off the line by teammate Andrew Boyens.
In the 31st minute Chandler broke through but his shot was blocked by Graczyk as was the rebound shot taken by Conor Chinn.
New Mexico had the last great chance of the first half, as a long blast by Justin Davis was deflected off the crossbar by USF goalkeeper Geremy Uhl.