USF defeated Cal State Fullerton 2-1 on Friday, Sept. 5 thanks to the stellar play of senior forward Miguel Aguilar, who scored both of the goals for the Dons. Although they were playing without senior midfielder Danny Kirkland, the team captain and reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Week, the Dons showed a toughness and resilience that led them to victory.
“They found a way to get a [winning] result on the road in a hostile environment,” head coach Eddie Soto told usfdons.com.
San Francisco fell behind in the 18th minute when the Titans scored the game’s first goal, but Aguilar was soon unleashed. The speedy forward’s equalizer was triggered by sophomore midfielder Davi Ramos, who delivered the ball to senior defender David Romney off of a free kick. Romney then headed the ball towards Aguilar, who was able to touch the ball into the goal, tying the game 1-1.
The Dons had another opportunity to score in the 24th minute, but freshman forward Bryce Kaminski headed the ball just above the goal after a Ramos penalty kick was deflected.
Neither team was able to capitalize and take the lead going into halftime, but USF found its chance in the second half. In the 72nd minute, the Dons earned another penalty kick, and this time they converted. Aguilar sent a sizzling shot past the Titans’ goalkeeper to put the Dons in control 2-1, and USF was able to hold on for the narrow victory.
The match was also a homecoming game for Soto, who was an all-American soccer player at Cal State Fullerton, where he graduated in 1995.
“It feels nice to come home, but it’s about our team and what we were doing,” Soto told usfdons.com. “I am happy to be a Don.”
The Dons’ win over Cal State Fullerton marked the end of their season-starting three-game road trip. USF went 2-1 on the trip, which started with an excellent 2-1 win against No. 21 Wisconsin on Aug. 29 that included a masterful goal from Kirkland. The Dons then dropped a 1-0 decision at Illinois-Chicago on Aug. 31 before defeating the Titans last weekend. USF’s home opener will be against Florida Gulf Coast on Friday, Sept. 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Negoesco Stadium, where the Dons will look to transfer their road success to their home field.