Carolina defeated, 2-0, by Clemson
Gamecocks outshot the Tigers 15-8, but only managed three SOG.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina dropped a 2-0 decision to in-state rival Clemson in the annual Palmetto Series on Friday night at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks out-shot the Tigers 15-8, but two second half goals would be the difference in the match. It was an even-played, scoreless first 45 minutes. Clemson would change the dynamic of the match with an early second half penalty kick goal.
The Tigers had two great chances in the opening 10 minutes from close-range, but senior goalkeeper Ian McGrane made a pair of excellent saves to keep the score 0-0. Carolina was unable to get going offensively until sophomore midfielder Kyle Gurrieri came off the bench to spark its attack in the 20th minute. He fired a pinpoint, transition pass down the middle of the field to an onside Bjorn Gudjonsson, who had a step out in space on his man. Gudjonsson was tackled just outside the box with no foul on the play.
Gurrieri, who left the game with injury before halftime, would set up another great chance moments later on a run to the wide side of the box by junior Luca Mayr, but Mayr’s shot missed wide right. The Gamecocks kept the offensive pressure on Clemson’s backline as Mayr connected with sophomore striker Ben Gilligan just outside the six. Gilligan got his shot off quick on the boom-boom sequence, but Jonny Sutherland made a solid save.
Both teams had five shots in the first half with the Tigers holding a 2-1 edge on corner kicks.
Shortly after second half play began, Carolina was whistled for a foul in the 49th minute inside the box. McGrane guessed right on the ensuing PK, but Tanner Dieterich’s shot slid by him into the back of the net. The Gamecocks had a great opportunity to tie the match in the 60th minute when Mayr booted a free kick from just in front of the Carolina bench. The bending ball blew by everyone inside the box and ricocheted off the far post out of bounds.
Clemson would increase its lead to 2-0 shortly after in the 67th minute on a quick-strike transition attack. Adrian Nunez, snuck behind the Carolina backline, and Andrew Burnikel found him via header off a goal kick by Sutherland. Nunzez scored far post uncontested from 15-yards out. The Gamecocks would have some chances down the stretch, but were unable to capitalize on them. Of the team’s 15 shots Friday evening, just three were on goal.
The Gamecocks have no midweek game and will hit the road for the first time in the 2018 season, traveling to FAU for the conference opener on Friday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. ET on CUSA.tv. The Owls are led by former Gamecock assistant (2012-16) and player (1998-2001) Joey Worthen, who is in his second season as head coach.