The Gauchos are back trending in the right direction after beating Seattle University by a score of 1-0 on Thursday at Harder Stadium.
This result against the Redhawks is a promising one as it now improves the team’s winning streak to three.
In addition, this makes it back-to-back games in which the Gauchos have bested receiving-votes teams after last Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Oregon State; as of Tuesday’s NCAA Division 1 update to the United Soccer Coaches’ poll, both Oregon State and Seattle University are now no longer considered receiving-votes teams.
After this recent string of positive performances, UCSB’s overall record is now 4-2 on the season – bringing their win percentage to .667.
It’s also worth mentioning, following last season’s poor away record, that the Gauchos are currently undefeated when playing on the road. Thursday night’s match began neck and neck as both teams peppered in early shots with none hitting the mark or really testing the goalkeepers. By the 14th minute of play, several set pieces were earned as each corner kick posed a threat to open the score for either side.
However, it was UCSB’s incessant pressure at the middle of the pitch that caused the visitor’s first, and determining, error of the game. And at the 24-minute mark, it was senior forward Sahid Conteh who scored the crucial goal for the Gauchos — bringing the home side up one nil.
It was Conteh’s brilliant work rate that caused Redhawks midfielder Hamish Ritchie to force a pass back to his teammate, Nkosi Burgess. All Conteh had to do at that point was to dispossess Burgess, dribble to the right of the penalty area to get Seattle goalkeeper Akili Kasim out of position, and then slot in the ball perfectly across to the opposite post — which he did, and made it look easy whilst doing so.
This was Conteh’s first goal of the season, as he shares the team-leading goalscorer spot with six other Gauchos. The remainder of the first half of play saw a bit more confidence in UCSB’s play, with the team dominating possession more and more.
Sophomore forward Carter Clemmensen for the Gauchos received the first yellow card of the match as UCSB closed the half with their 1-0 lead.
Highlights of the second half include two spectacular saves by UCSB’s sophomore goalkeeper Ben Roach, not to mention a shot by Seattle University that bounced off the crossbar. Burgess did his team no favors after being sent off in the 55th minute due to a studs-up challenge.
This was a match ridden with fouls — 34 in total — but the unnecessary red card had the Redhawks playing down to 10 men for the majority of the second half. Ritchie also went on to get booked in the 76th minute.
As for the Gauchos, Conteh and sophomore midfielder Sam Fletcher were also painted yellow for their fouls in the second half.
Still, UCSB managed to hold off Seattle University for a solid 1-0 victory at Harder Stadium and they’ll look to take this momentum into this weekend’s matchup.
The Gauchos will be staying at home again this week for their seventh regular season installment as UCSB hosts the UMBC Retrievers this Sunday, Sept. 22, at 7:00 p.m.