The thing I love about soccer is that any team can win on any given day and that the team that plays best doesn’t always come out on top. The thing I hate about soccer is when that happens to your own team. The Dons’ men’s soccer team fell 1-0 to Stanford this weekend to start the 2010 Bay Area Soccer Classic, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. The Dons were in good form with senior attacker Bryan Burke back from injury and who played aggressively, holding Stanford goal-less until the 86th minute. The young Dons kept the visiting Cardinals busy with plenty of shots on goal.
USF recorded 15 shots to Stanford’s 5, but that’s the beauty of the game and the Cardinal goalkeeper Jason Dodson did what he had to do to keep the ball out of the net. The Dons also amassed 17 fouls and three yellow cards in what came to be a rough, physical game on wet turf.
Four freshmen and three sophomores started the game for the Don’s as head coach Erik Visser continues to utilize his young talent and the boys played a solid first half. Even with a young team the Dons were able to keep the ball and create numerous scoring opportunities against an older Stanford team who has defeated us three years in a row. USF battered Stanford’s young red shirt goalkeeper Dodson, forcing him to make 6 saves and defend aerial attacks from Dons crosses.
The win was Stanford’s first of the season and came on senior Dominique Yahyavi’s first touch shot to the back of the net. Cardinal midfielder Adoni Levine settled the ball around the center circle, turned and found teammate Alexander Binnie streaking down the right flank. Binnie trapped Levine’s diagonal through ball and slotted the ball across the goalmouth to Yahyavi who buried the ball passed diving Dons keeper Brendan Roslund. The late goal was a much needed confidence booster for Stanford and inspired a sideline celebration from fans and players. The goal was definitely a heartbreaker for the green and gold because it came so late in the hard-fought, emotional contest that could have gone either way. The goal came immediately after standout freshman center back Fred Loechen had to leave the game because of an ankle injury. The Dons players never gave up hope though, and continued to threaten the Cardinal goal until the very last minute. Victor Cortez and Oscar Englund unleashed a barrage of shots in the 85th minute as the Cardinals scrambled in there own 18-yard box. Minutes later forward Bryan Burke had a shot on goal that was saved successfully by Dodson.
Held to shutouts in their past three games, the Dons are now 1-3-1 in the season after losing to the number 16th ranked Cal Bears. The Dons traveled to nearby Berkeley on Sunday to finish up play in the Bay Area Soccer Classic and fell 1-0 in overtime.
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