It was one of these rare, sunny and hot, almost sultry, days in San Francisco when the game of our Dons against the Lions of Loyola Marymount started.
Our men’s soccer team tactically, technically, and physically dominated LMU in the first period with 14 shots and four corner kicks for USF, against two shots and only one corner kick for LMU. While missing Omar Elmasri, one of the mainstays in defense against San Diego two days prior, this time everyone was back together even though the team was still missing Brian McEvoy – injured since a couple weeks now.
USF was putting so much pressure on the LMU players that the Lions committed many unnecessary faults, conceded several dangerous free kicks, and got some cards. The ball possession was mainly in favor of the Dons, and LMU rarely worried our defense and goalkeeper, Brendan Roslund, who only had two saves to tend.
The numerous fans (367), probably overcome by this unusual heat, were overall quite calm and quiet, even though they were cheering their team in a startle of surprise during a good action, or simply reacting to a referee’s decision. They also were going back and forth between their seat and the concession stand to get some cold drinks.
While the goalkeeper of LMU had a good first period by having 9 saves, he could not do anything against our best kicker, Conor Chinn, who crucified him thanks to a pass from Bryan Burke in the 21st minute.
Nine minutes later Chinn intercepted a pass, split two defenders and beat the unfortunate goalkeeper one more time, scoring his seventh goal of the season.
At the end of the first period, the score was 2-0 for USF, and the second period was expected to be intense.
Indeed the Lions were more aggressive and played better in the second period, surprising our Dons and employing dangerous strategies. Even the statistics were more balanced: eight shots and one corner kick for USF against, eight shots and two corner kicks for LMU. Also, Roslund had three saves to tend against five for the goalkeeper of LMU. The Lions’ efforts paid, as #7 Phil Da Silva scored in the 64th minute.
But their joy and hopes of tiding did not last for long and the Dons did not get scared or tight as Burke again did a short cross toward Chinn, who completed a hat trick and scored a third goal. The LMU players looked desperate and down, but it went worse when the referee ejected their #26 after he got a red card. LMU had to play the last 20 minutes at 10 players against 11.
When the referee blew the end of the match, the score was 3-1 for the Dons who played a very good game, and who stayed focused until the end despite a brief come back of their opponents.
Next Sunday at 7 pm, the men’s soccer team will have a last home Conference game to play against the Gaels of St. Mary’s. The team hopes many people will come to cheer them and help them to win this game which will be probably tough and intense.
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