After 110 minutes of nail-biting action, the South Carolina men’s soccer team (4-3-1) remains winless in Conference USA.
The Gamecocks ended their tilt with New Mexico (4-3-1) in a 2-2 draw at Stone Stadium on Friday.
A young duo of talent was showcased on the field for South Carolina, with one goal being scored by freshman midfielder Justin Sukow and the other by freshman defender Mitchell Myers. Sukow netted his team-leading fourth goal of the season, while Myers recorded his first collegiate goal off a rebound from an Andre Streete pass.
“It was pretty exciting,” Myers said on scoring his first goal in front of friends and family. “I saw [Andre] cross the ball in, took a deflection and I got good contact with the ball and knocked it in.”
Given the pressure the Gamecocks put forth in the final minutes of regulation, Friday's draw with the Lobos can be seen as a learning situation moving forward.
“I think it was two really good teams going toe-to-toe,” Berson said. “I think It was a great battle. They had one off the bar down there, we had two right in the last five, eight seconds of the match, and the guy made an unbelievable save where we could’ve won it ... We just didn’t do some things that we needed to do and we’ll learn from that.”
Goalkeeper Will Pyle finished with seven saves in 110 minutes of play after facing 20 shots during regulation and a whopping 13 shots in the second half. Berson credited the Gamecocks’ passing ability as a highlight of the game, along with Pyle’s performance between the pipes.
“The quality of our passing, the quality of our inner passing was really good. I think that again, the depth some of our guys that are coming on and giving us a little bit of relief did fairly well," Berson said. "By the same respect, Will (Pyle) I thought was good in goal, and their goalkeeper was really good in goal, and it was just a really tight game.”
New Mexico was one of Conference USA's four participants in the 2016 NCAA Tournament last season, along with the Gamecocks, Charlotte and Kentucky. While the Lobos scored a tying goal from senior forward Sam Gleadle in the 88th minute, Berson said his team is of the “same ilk."
“That’s the quality in our league," Berson said. "We’re a little bit young and we’re learning. At one point tonight, I think, we started five new players ... New Mexico, on the other hand, you’ve got to credit them. They found a way to come back and [Sam] Gleadle's one of the top young players in the country ... It was just a great match between two really good teams. End to end — a million chances ... It probably was deserved to be a draw. But, it does hurt when you let it get away from you with a minute left.”
South Carolina will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., on Tuesday to face No. 4 Wake Forest at 7 p.m.