SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The visiting Dons of USF came into Buck Shaw Stadium and upset No. 18 Santa Clara 2-0 in West Coast Conference men's soccer action Wednesday night. Both teams entered the match unbeaten in league play.
USF (5-4-1; 3-0 WCC) takes control of first place in the WCC. The Dons bottled up the Broncos high-powered offense and benefited from an SCU red card in the second half to win their fourth straight.
Santa Clara (6-2-3; 2-1 WCC) suffered its first loss in eight games. The Broncos were finishing up a stretch of playing 9 of 11 games on their home field to open the season. Three consecutive WCC road games are next for SCU, beginning with St. Mary's Friday afternoon in Moraga.
"USF did a good job of defending," said Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast. "(USF) has a young group that is going to work hard and make it difficult and that's what they have right now. If you battle hard enough and long enough, you are going to make things happen and that's what they did. It really wasn't that creative. They didn't do much in the attacking scheme of things, they didn't break us down, they didn't turn corners, all they did was play a ball in behind that we did not play well."
That ball Rast referred to, which put the Dons up 1-0 in the first half, was played to freshman forward Miguel Aguillar who softly volleyed a shot over a pair of Bronco defenders and inside the far post, doing so in transition.
Still leading in the second half, USF came up with another goal, this time on a broken play inside the box. It was Vinny Caloiaro cleaning up teammate Mauricio Diaz De Leon's blocked shot from 15 yards out.
Immediately after Caloiaro scored, Mykell Bates nearly put SCU right back into it by generating a good opportunity on a breakaway. Shortly thereafter Bronco senior Connor Mitchell was given a red card and for the final 23 minutes SCU played with 10 men.
"We have to come with a better energy and a better intensity on Friday," said Rast, looking forward to the St. Mary's game in Moraga. "USF had nothing to lose tonight and they came in here and played for it, for some reason we played like we were trying to protect something. The guys did not come with the right attitude or the right mentality and got taught a lesson for that."