Toreros Earn Hard-Fought 3-2 Victory Over Cal State Fullerton



Sep 8, 2013

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Sergio Lopez's goal in the 105th minute lifted the USD men's soccer team to a 3-2 double overtime victory over Cal State Fullerton Sunday evening at Torero Stadium. The Toreros (1-2-0) rallied back after falling down 2-0 to eventually capture their first victory of the season in an exciting home opener.

With the game tied at 2-2 halfway through the final overtime frame and USD firing off shot after shot against the Fullerton defense, Lopez found himself right in front of the net with a one-on-one against Titan keeper Bryan Escalante after receiving a pass from Connor O'Neill on the far left wing. Lopez pounded the ball in from about eight yards out for the game-winner and his first score of the year.

"(USD keeper) Michael D'Arrigo knew we had to get the ball up forward with only four minutes left in the game," said Lopez after the win. "Connor O'Neill was running up, he played it to him, (O'Neill) kept it in. Great effort by Connor O'Neill, he kept taking it down the line and I knew I had to make that run and I went and dropped the ball in the net."

Sergio Lopez

The Toreros held a decisive 20-9 edge in shots on the night, but the majority of those came from the second half on as Fullerton (1-3-0) mostly controlled the first half action. Alex Cannas scored the first goal for the Titans in the 35th minute when he headed a corner kick backward into the far corner of the net to give Fullerton a 1-0 lead.

Amara Soumah followed that right after halftime when he got just enough of his head on a corner kick in heavy traffic to direct the shot past USD keeper Michael D'Arrigo to put the Tians up 2-0 in the 46th minute.

That would prove to be all the offense Fullerton would be able to muster as USD turned up the intensity in the second half. The Toreros outshot Fullerton 13-4 in the second half and 3-0 in both overtime periods combined.

Keegan Smith put USD on the board in the 69th minute after taking a long pass from Darragh Vieyra down the middle of the field. Smith found himself facing one defender and the keeper and was able to dribble around Titan defender to fire a shot into the far corner for his first career USD goal.

Then, in the 75th minute, Joey Dei Rossi evened it up at 2-2 when he came out of nowhere to deflect a header off a hard line drive pass from the left wing by Michael Turner. Dei Rossi was sprinting toward the near post when he found himself in the perfect position to head the ball into the near corner and tally his first goal of the season.

It seemed like the Toreros were bound to get a shot past Escalante from that point forward as they continued to get good looks at the net. Smith just barely missed a header in the second overtime frame that sailed wide right by no more than a couple inches. Likewise, Connor Brandt, who led everyone with four shots, seemed to be around the goal all night. Late in the second half, Brandt performed a nifty juke of a defender on the left wing to get himself a brief window, but his shot went directly to the Fullerton keeper.

Fullerton had a few close calls of their own, including a soft header from Garrett Losee with just under 10 minutes left in regulation that bounced over D'Arrigo and looked headed for the empty net before it bounced wide left.

D'Arrigo (1-1-0) earned the win for the Toreros in goal as he recorded three saves on the night. Escalante (1-3-0) was saddled with the loss but recorded eight saves in the contest.

The victory avenges last year's 2-1 overtime loss at Fullerton.

USD welcomes another Big West opponent to Torero Stadium on Friday, Sept. 13 when UC Riverside comes to town for a 7 pm kickoff.