Sept. 9, 2017
Men's Soccer vs. FAU
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina (3-2-0) dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker in overtime to FAU in its Conference USA opener on Saturday night at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks tied the match in the 77th minute on a goal by freshman Justin Sukow, but the Owls were able to net the game-winner in the 98th minute.
Carolina came out controlling the pace of play. The home team had a number of chances in the first 20 minutes, notching three corner kicks early in the match.
The Gamecock defense was locked in the first 45 minutes, allowing just four shots and one shot on goal. Sophomore striker Luca Mayr nearly put Carolina on the scoreboard in the 22nd minute on a free kick. He bended a beautiful ball from just outside the 18 that missed just wide.. The teams headed into the half scoreless with the Gamecocks holding a 6-4 edge in shots and 4-0 advantage in corner kicks.
Carolina was on the attack offensively out of the break tallying an early corner kick, but it was FAU who got on the board first in the 51st minute. Felix Halle Smith ripped a shot to the upper right 90 portion of the goal for the score, a near impossible save for goalkeeper William Pyle. The Owls would have a couple more chances in the next 12 minutes, but Pyle made two stops to keep the deficit at one score.
Carolina regrouped and would have a flurry of chances on consecutive corner kicks in the 69th and 73rd minutes. Freshman Benjamin Gilligan put a good strike on the second corner, but the ball was cleared by the Owl defense. The Gamecocks found pay dirt in the 77th minute on a beautiful passing sequence by freshman Kay In 't Ven and Gilligan. In 't Ven passed it to Gilligan and he gave right back to his teammate who fired a gorgeous touch pass to an onside Sukow in a 1v1 situation with the FAU keeper. Sukow got Luis Aranzazu off-balance and rocketed home his third score of the season to tie the match, 1-1.
In overtime, the Gamecocks had a great chance to end it in the 96th minute on another corner kick by Mayr. Andre Streete rifled a shot on the set piece just wide to the near post. FAU countered two minutes later as Carlos Sanchis was unable to knock in the game-winner on a textbook volley right in front of the net by Ferdinand Solberg.
"I think first of all the determination and the fighting power from our guys was really good. I thought we showed a lot of character coming back and equalizing so that was one of the big positives of the night. I think that when you get into overtime anything can happen. We played really well in stretches, but there were some stretches where we got away from who we are and what we needed to do. We'll have to learn from that and get ready to improve and get better the next time out. Again, I thought we showed a lot of character in coming back and tying the match which is we expect to do, but we just didn't get the winner tonight." -- South Carolina men's soccer head coach Mark Berson
FAU's quick strike score in the 98th minute proved the difference in the match.
South Carolina had a 14-11 advantage in shots and a 10-2 edge in corner kicks.
The Gamecocks have no midweek game for the first time in the 2017 season. Carolina will hit the road for its first match away from Stone Stadium in C-USA play against Marshall next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET in Huntington.
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