Winthrop Stuns Upstate with Late Goal
Rock Hill, S.C. – For the second straight game, USC Upstate turned in a strong performance only to have a late goal spoil the night as Winthrop took a 2-1 victory over the Spartans in non-conference men's soccer action Tuesday night at Eagle Field.
Last Friday, Upstate dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 22 Furman on a goal with less than two minutes to play. Tuesday, the Spartans held a 1-0 lead over Winthrop at halftime and were tied, 1-1, with time counting down at the end of regulation. However, the Eagles broke through for a goal with less than three minutes to play to secure the win.
Upstate fell to 2-5-1 on the year. Tuesday's game was the final non-conference match of the regular season for the Spartans. Upstate will not play again until opening A-Sun play on Oct. 5 against Jacksonville at County University Soccer Stadium. Winthrop improved to 4-4-0 on the year with the win.
It didn't take long for both teams to get things going offensively, combining for four shots in the first 8:30 of the game. It was the fourth shot that gave Upstate a 1-0 lead and a one-goal advantage at the intermission. On an Upstate counter attack, Tevin Gage (Valrico, Fla.) played a through ball to Dylan Hoop (Hamilton, Ohio), who put the shot away from 18 yards out in the ninth minute for his third goal of the season.
The goal stood up for the remainder of the half as Upstate took a 1-0 lead into the locker room. The Spartans out-shot Winthrop, 6-5, in the opening period. Winthrop goalkeeper, Tom Banfield, made four saves as five of Upstate's six shots were on goal. Upstate keeper, Dani Alvarado (Leander, Texas), made just one save as four of the Eagles' shot were on frame.
Just as was the case in the first half, the action was furious in the opening minutes of the second half. It took just 2:37 to get a second goal on the board. This time, though, it was Winthrop that cracked the scoreboard. On a throw-in deep in Upstate territory, Kyle Kennedy flicked the ball to the far post where Alex Isern put the shot away to tie the game in the 38th minute.
From that point on, Winthrop kept up the pressure, forcing Alvarado to make several strong saves. The Eagles got off six shots in the first 30 minutes of the half, with Alvarado coming up with four saves during the time frame. Upstate got off just one shot in the first 30 minutes of the second period.
Both teams had late opportunities to break the 1-1 tie, but Dave Musambi's (Ottawa, Ontario) shot went wide in the 84th minute for Upstate, while Winthrop's Adam Brundle put a shot on goal which was saved by Alvarado in the 87th minute. However, just 20 seconds later, Brundle would strike with the game-winning goal. Isern played a ball to the back post where Brundle put the shot away for a 2-1 Winthrop lead.
Upstate could not get a shot off in the final 2:46 as Winthrop held on for the win. The Eagles out-shot the Spartans, 8-2, in the second half. Alvarado tallied six saves on the night to lead the Upstate defensive effort.