Sept. 20, 2013
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - It was a bend-but-don't-break kind of night for the defense, but the USD men's soccer team held off a torrid attack while picking up a timely goal en route to a 1-0 victory over UC Davis at Torero Stadium on Friday evening. USD keeper Michael D'Arrigo registered seven saves, two shy of his career high, as he and the rest of the Torero defense prevented the Aggies (3-4-0) from capitalizing on their 16-8 shot advantage in the contest.
"I just try to keep everything simple, take it one step at a time," said D'Arrigo (2-2-1) after the win. "If they were attacking, I just try to make sure my defense is organized and then my job is easy- keep the ball out of the net."
Freshman Michael Turner knocked in the game-winning goal in the 50th minute, the first of his career, to give the Toreros (2-3-1) all the offense they would need.
"We had a great first half," said USD head coach Seamus McFadden. "We put our stamp on the game clearly in the first half and we were the better team. But in the second half, they were the better team. They came at us and we tired a little bit. We have guys that are not used to playing big minutes. We have a lot of bits and pieces; a lot of guys coming back from injuries. But tonight was a great team effort and we're pretty excited about it."
The USD lineup was littered with a patchwork of players playing out of position due to various injuries, however that didn't stop them from delivering yet another hard-fought performance against a very aggressive UC Davis squad.
First half action saw both teams jostling for momentum. UC Davis came close to taking an early lead in the 11th minute but their attempt was thwarted by a sliding one-on-one save by D'Arrigo. Then, in the 23rd minute, the Aggies' Ian Palmer broke free on the left wing, but his low shot rolled just wide right, keeping the game scoreless.
Coming out in the second half, the game picked up a new level of intensity. That was when Connor Brandt dribbled down the left wing and delivered a low, hard cross into the box. One Torero slid in but missed the pass, however Turner was right behind him to deflect Brandt's cross just inside the far post for the go-ahead score.
Later in the second half, D'Arrigo speared yet another one-on-one, this one by Alex Aguilar in the 56th minute to keep USD up 1-0. D'Arrigo helped preserve the lead with a diving deflection on a rocket from 20 yards out in the 65th minute and stonewalled a point-blank tap in the 68th minute on a cross into the box.
Altogether, it was a gutsy effort by a Torero team that is getting used to tight matches. Five of USD's six games this year have been decided by one goal (with one 0-0 tie among those). UC Davis held a commanding 11-3 edge in corner kicks on the night, but the Toreros prevented them from taking advantage of the opportunities.
The Toreros return to action on Sunday afternoon when they host Sacramento State at Torero Stadium at 3 pm.