Oct. 2, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team earned a come-from-behind victory over UAB in its Conference USA opener, collecting a 3-2 victory at Stone Stadium on Saturday night. The win improves South Carolina’s record to 5-2-1, 1-0-0 C-USA, while the Blazers fall to 6-3-0, 0-2-0 in league action.
South Carolina held a 16-10 advantage in shots in the match, while both teams managed six shots on goal. Senior forward Blake Brettschneider led Carolina with four shots, one goal and one assist, while senior defender Will Traynor added a goal and an assist, and freshman midfielder Bradlee Baladez tallied three shots, including the game-winning tally in the 88th minute for the Gamecocks. Sophomore defender Mike Mangotic also tallied an assist, his first of the season.
Leading UAB was sophomore forward Kofi Gyawu with four shots, one goal and one assist, while junior forward Babayele Sodade also tallied a goal for the Blazers. Sophomore midfielder Reed Matte and senior forward Anthony King each collected one assist for UAB.
South Carolina goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer collected four saves, while also earning an assist on the night, his first of the season. UAB counterpart Carl Woszczynski collected three saves in the loss.
Both teams had their offensive chances in the opening half, with South Carolina holding a 7-3 upperhand in shots. Carolina’s first scoring threat came with 22 minutes remaining in the half when Baladez collected a loose ball near midfield and played a through pass to Root who sailed a ball high over the crossbar.
Baladez continued to battle in the Gamecock offensive third. After a combination pass between Root and Brettschneider found its way to Baladez, the freshman midfielder hit a strike that hit the cross bar, and fell into the waiting hands of Woszczynski to hold the contest scoreless in the 29th minute. UAB was quick to counter, racing down the field to earn a free kick just outside of the Carolina 18-yard box. The cross from senior Michal Mravec ran out of bounds for a Carolina goal kick, halting the Blazer threat.
UAB came on strong in the later minutes of the opening half. Gyawu earned UAB’s best scoring opportunity of the half, when in the 34th minute, Maurer was forced to make a diving save, and was fouled by UAB, calling back Gyawu’s shot and near goal on the rebound.
Woszczynski made another diving save, this time on a chip shot by Root with just over three minutes remaining, and Gamecock junior midfielder Janny Rivera saved a UAB corner kick off the goal line to hold the contest scoreless at the half.
Back and forth play began the second half, before the team’s combined for five goals in the final 32 minutes of action. Gyawu netted the first goal in the half in the 58th minute on a header, just three yards from frame on an assist by Matte for the 1-0 UAB lead. South Carolina answered 11 minutes later, as Maurer played a long clearance to Brettschneider streaking down the left sideline. Brettschneider beat a UAB defender before sending a low shot past Woszczynski to equal the score at one goal each on his third goal of the season.
Seven minutes later UAB regained the lead on Sodade’s tally in the 76th minute. Gyawu threaded a well-placed pass in between two Gamecock defenders into the path of Sodade, who sent the ball past Maurer for the 2-1 UAB advantage.
After a red card saw South Carolina compete with 10 players compared to UAB’s 11, the Gamecocks rallied, scoring two goals in the final 10 minutes to capture victory in the C-USA opener.
Traynor scored the game’s equalizer for the second time in the 81st minute, heading a ball past Woszczynski to the far post on a long throw in from Mangotic. Now holding the offensive momentum, South Carolina played for the win, as Traynor and Brettschneider connected in the 87th minute on a long clearance out of the Gamecock defensive third. Brettschneider played a perfect through ball to Baladez 18 yards out, who hit a one-time shot past Woszczynski for the South Carolina game-winning goal.
South Carolina continues C-USA action when it travels to face No. 5 SMU and No. 7 Tulsa in consecutive road contests. Visit GamecocksOnline.com for live stats on both contests.