The Dons allowed zero goals last weekend, displaying their suffocating defense in a 3-0 rout of San Jose State (2-6-0) and a scoreless draw against undefeated UC Davis (2-0-7). USF recorded its first tie of the season against the Aggies, bringing its record to 5-2-1.
USF took the field Sunday with intense determination, and earned a blowout victory against the Spartans. The Dons’ offense applied pressure early, and got on the board in the 17th minute when freshman defender Manny Padilla crossed the ball to sophomore midfielder Davi Ramos, who scored the first goal of the match.
The Dons didn’t wait long to extend their lead. In the 28th minute, senior forward and leading Dons scorer Miguel Aguilar picked up a loose ball, took it just inside the 18-yard penalty box, and fired it past the Spartan goalkeeper, scoring his fourth goal of the season.
USF’s offensive aggressiveness didn’t let up in the second half, and the Dons were set on widening the margin. They finished the Spartans in the 71st minute when freshman midfielder Jonathan Fabulich knocked the ball into the net off a Ramos free kick.
Scoring didn’t come as easily on Friday. The Dons were on the cusp of victory, but numerous off-target attempts left them in a 0-0 draw with UC Davis. USF dominated most of the match, taking seven more shots than the Aggies, but couldn’t get a goal to seal the game.
The Dons’ offense, led by Aguilar, had an antsy home crowd on edge. Fans cheered as the Dons took control early, and kept the ball in Aggie territory for most of the first half, resulting in six shots to only two by the Aggies.
UC Davis showed frustration in the second period, and USF fans taunted as three Aggies were slapped with yellow cards. Still, neither the home crowd nor the favorable penalties were enough. The Dons had 10 shots to the Aggies’ three in the second half, but nothing to show for it. Every promising shot had Dons supporters holding their breath, but both teams were scoreless going into extra time.
A late Aggie rally in extra time was well-defended by USF, and three double overtime saves from senior goalkeeper Chase Hauser preserved the 0-0 tie.
“The good thing is we’re getting there,” head coach Eddie Soto told usfdons.com after the game. “We’re creating these chances and playing good soccer. The final product is what we’re missing right now.”
The Dons begin conference play at San Diego on Friday, Oct. 3 at 5:00 p.m.