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#16 Ranked USF Visits Portland Friday Night, Gonzaga Sunday Afternoon

Oct. 24, 2006

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RANKINGS: The Dons are ranked # 16 by Soccer Times, #22 by NSCAA, #20 by College Soccer News and #22 by Soccer America.

* USF has won five of last six, returns to Northwest when they clinched title last year

* All of last eight games decided by a single goal

* Uhl now West Coast Conference career shutout leader after blanking St. Mary's Sunday


The University of San Francisco soccer team (10-4-1, 5-3 WCC), ranked nationally in all four major polls, closes out its regular season road schedule visiting Portland (6-7-2, 3-6-0) Friday night and Gonzaga (6-7-2, 3-5-1) Sunday afternoon.The Dons, who have a 6-3 road mark, have won five of their last six. The weekend of Sept. 29-Oct. 1 they swept Gonzaga (2-1) and Portland (3-2) at Negoesco Stadium.One thing about USF's games this season is that they have all been close. Only four of the Dons 15 games have been decided by more than a goal, and all eight WCC games were decided by just one goal. Strangely enough, USF has played just one overtime.

NEW SHUTOUT KING: Last Sunday at Negoesco Stadium, USF goalkeeper Geremy Uhl shutout St. Mary's 1-0 at home. It was Uhl's 14th career WCC shutout, breaking the previous record of 13 held by former Portland and current U.S. National Team goalkeeper Kasey Keller. It was Uhl's sixth shutout of the year and his 24th in his Dons' career. Four of his shutouts have been away from home.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: USF is certainly comfortable working away from Negoesco Stadium where they have a 6-3-0 mark this year. They are 2-2 in league play this year away from home, and were 4-2 in WCC play last season outside their own pitch, including a Northwest sweep

TEN AGAIN: USF reached the ten win mark Sunday with the Saint Mary's win. It's the third straight year with 10 or more wins and the third in the last four seasons.

HEAD COACH Erik Visser: A former USF defender, whose marking of Angelo DiBernardo in the NCAA title game helped the Dons earn the 1978 crown, Visser joined the USF coaching staff as an assistant to NCAA legend Stephen Negoesco in 1982. While an assistant, he also served as the initial head coach for the women's program in 1985. He took over the men's program in 2001, and has had great success over the past two seasons, earning West Coast Conference Coach of the Year Honors in 2004 and 2005. He currently has a 61-43-9 mark in his sixth season. Visser coached his 100th game at USF in the home opener this year against Stanford.

GOING FOR THE TRIPLE: The Dons will be going for their third consecutive West Coast Conference crown. USF won the 2004 title with a 9-3-0 mark and the 2005 title with a 6-3-3 record. The Dons were selected to win the 2006 league championship in a poll of WCC coaches, edging Santa Clara. Both the Dons and Broncos had three first place votes.

WCC COACHES POLL: 1. San Francisco 32 (3); 2. Santa Clara 31 (3), 3. San Diego - 28 (1), 4. LMU 23; 5. Portland, St. Mary's- 12, 7. Gonzaga - 9.

UHL WHITEWASHES: Geremy Uhl has now shutout out every team he has faced in the Bay Area (Cal, Stanford, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, San Jose State) over his career. He has also already shut out every West Coast Conference squad at least once (Portland, Gonzaga, St. Mary's, Santa Clara, San Diego and Loyola Marymount.) He has 24 career shutouts and has broken the record for most shutouts in WCC play held by Portland's Casey Keller (13).

Last year, Uhl led the WCC in goals against average in WCC play (0.85) and shutouts (5). He also won USF Most Valuable Player last season. As a sophomore he helped lead USF to WCC crown with a 0.38 goals against average.

Aaron Chandler: Aaron Chandler scored his 13th career game winner against Gonzaga Sep. 29. He has 15 career WCC goals and can surpass the career WCC mark of Gonzaga's Jeff McAlister with just two more goals this season. He also needs 7 points in WCC play to become the conference's all-time leading scorer.

NEWCOMERS: Although they have won two consecutive WCC titles, the Dons have added a lot of new blood this season. Included is defender Chris Rodd, who has been a key member of the defense and scored the only goal in USF's 1-0 win at LMU. Also joining the team this year and having played significant minutes is junior college All-American forward Ardalan Attar (who scored against Stanford, CS Northridge), high school All-American Jesse Henderson, Seattle University transfer Conor Chinn (who scored at San Jose State and tallied the GWG vs. Portland) and Tyler Ruthven, who has seen time at midfield and defender.

SCORING LEADERS: Aaron Chandler, who led the team in scoring over the past two seasons, currently leads the team with four goals and two assists. Chandler scored his 13th career game-winning goal vs. Gonzaga. Junior College All-American Ardalan Attar is second in scoring with three goals and two assists and Matt Languis and Conor Chinn each have two goals and two assists

INJURY BUG: The Dons have been hit by injuries lately with midfielders Brandon McDonald and Daniel DeGeer missing last weekends contests and not scheduled to travel to the Northwest. "It is very difficult to play without key players like those two, but injuries are part of the game," said Dons head coach Erik Visser. "I am very proud of the way that the team has rallied and not let those injuries slow them down."

VISSER ON THE WEEKEND: "It is easy to say that this is a big weekend for us, but in this league, you can say that every weekend," he said. "We are getting to the point where every goal is crucial, every point in the league standings precious. Portland and Gonzaga are certainly capable of beating anyone in this league on a given night, and they have."

LAST WEEKEND: USF split its two games last weekend, dropping a 1-0 decision at Santa Clara and topping Saint Mary's 1-0 at home. At Santa Clara, a late goal by Amaechi Igwe gave the hosts the only goal it needed to stop USF's four game winning streak, despite the considerable pressure out on the Broncos' defense. At one point it appeared the Dons would be awarded a game-tying penalty kick, but the foul against Rob Valentino in the box was not called. At home against Saint Mary's it was an early goal by Neil Stuart gave the Dons a 1-0 win. It was a beautiful full volley set up by passes from Ardalan Attar and Jesse Henderson.

FIRST MEETINGS: Against the Pilots (Oct. 1), USF had to come from behind twice to beat the visiting Pilots on October 1 with freshman Conor Chinn scoring the game-winner just 33 seconds into overtime. Portland had goals by Logan Emory and Collen Warner, both off corner kicks in the fourth and 66th minutes, while USF scored on goals by Neil Stuart and Aaron Chandler in the 10th and 71st minutes.Grant Lundberg gave Gonzaga the lead in the 25th minute, but USF's Rob Valentino tied it on a penalty kick (29:14) before Aaron Chadler scored the gamer at 53:20 as USF outlasted Gonzaga 2-1 on Sept. 29.