So they are human.
Friday night the Gauchos finally found a clink in their armor in a heated battle with the University of San Francisco. Alas, it could be worse. UCSB managed to salvage a 1-1 tie, but for the first time this season they put up something other than a goose egg in their losses or ties column.
“I guess it was jut a matter of time. It was not a good game for us at all,” said senior defender Tony Lochhead. “It was a little disappointing.”
In the 24th minute, Santa Barbara experienced its first deficit of the season. The Dons sent a ball through the middle of the Santa Barbara defense and the attacker ran into freshman defender Andy Iro in the back of the penalty box, resulting in a penalty kick.
“It was a weak P.K., but he definitely worked it. If I was the ref I would have called it as well,” said Lochhead. ” [It’s] just unfortunate I guess; something that we could have prevented.”
USF’s Brandon McDonald took the free kick and sent it left while senior goalkeeper Danny Kennedy went right.
Things went from bad to worse for the Gauchos in the 50th minute of play when sophomore defender Greg Curry drew a red card, leaving the Gauchos one man down for the remainder of the contest.
“Well, there was kind of a little scramble and the ball popped loose and went towards our goal and a guy took a bad touch from me. It was just a pretty hard, nasty tackle,” said Curry. “I didn’t think I deserved it, but [you] never know with those kinds of refs; they surprise you like that.”
As a result, Curry will miss the Gauchos next two matches against Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly.
Nevertheless, the short-handed Gauchos remaining on the field picked up the slack in Curry’s absence. In the 83rd minute, senior forward Neil Jones was on the offensive when he was cut down from behind, which resulted in a penalty kick. Senior forward Drew McAthy took the shot and drilled the ball past the outstretched arms of USF goalkeeper Mark Muleady.
“I think the ref knew that he gave away a free [penalty kick], so ours was like a 50-50 call,” said Lochhead. “Because he gave one to them, I think he evened it out a little bit. Fair enough – we’ll take it.”
While the Gauchos were relieved to escape with just a tie, there were other troubling issues that the team need to address.
“A lot of players, not just [those] who were suspended, have gotten stupid yellow cards for picking up the ball, kicking the ball away or talking back,” said Jones. “That can’t really be excused.”
The Gauchos’ strength will be tried heavily this week as they face not only Curry’s first absence, but also the loss of Lochhead and Iro, who both drew suspensions for earning their fifth yellow cards.
Their first test is Wednesday night against Fullerton at Harder Stadium at 7 p.m.