The Daily Gamecock

Men's soccer pulls away late to finish off Georgia Southern


With the weekend off, the Gamecocks were back in action Monday against Georgia Southern, and won the game 4-2. South Carolina won their opener Friday, beating Mercer 2-1 thanks to goals from freshman Ben Davidson and senior Jeffrey Torda. Georgia Southern dropped their first game to Stetson on Friday, 3-1, even though they were tied in the 84th minute. This is their first meeting since 1997 when they tied 3-3.

First half

The game started fast with the Gamecocks pushing the tempo from the first kick. However, Georgia Southern struck first. In the fourth minute, the Eagles’ senior Eric Dinka lobbed a corner kick into the box and sophomore Chris MacMurray put a shot on goal. Junior Marco Velez saved the shot, but MacMurray cleaned up the rebound by hammering in a goal.

It didn’t take long for the Gamecocks to not only respond, but pull ahead.

In the 18th minute, junior Koty Millard slotted a ball past the Sun Belt’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Jack Falle off a pass from freshman Ben Davidson. The goal was Millard’s first of the season and third in garnet and black. The Gamecocks won the ball back quickly and wasted no time. Freshman defender Tor Nyboe launched a pass down field to Danny Deakin in the 21st minute. From 19 yards out on the right side of the box, the junior then made a move and rocketed the ball into the back of net, his first of the year.

Before the first half buzzer sounded, Georgia Southern senior Emmanuel Raji  — the Eagles’ leading scorer last year with five goals — received the ball in Gamecock territory and made a move that put three South Carolina defenders on skates. Raji, dribbling into the hole he made, tried to tap it in, but Velez made a fingertip save to put the ball safely out of bounds, ending the half 2-1 in favor of the Gamecocks.

Second half

Georgia Southern came into the second half on fire. Sophomore Nick Wells crossed a ball to freshman Alfonso Ochoa in the 50th minute. Velez came out to save the initial shot from Ochoa, but the tap out wasn’t enough as Ochoa got his own deflection and scored the equalizer.

Shortly after, in the 57th minute, the Gamecocks almost saw the Eagles take the lead. After an Eagle player crossed the ball into box, freshman Christian Duncan almost headed the ball into the right corner, but instead the ball hit off the plumbing and cleared by the Gamecocks.

South Carolina took control of the clearance and set up their offense. The team controlled the ball in Georgia Southern’s half and were awarded a free kick at the 62nd. Senior Ryan Arambula lofted the ball to Jeffrey Torda, and the senior finished with an incredible aerial scissor kick, giving the Gamecocks the advantage at 3-2. That assist was Arambula’s second of the year.

Senior Kevin Walker sealed the win for the Gamecocks with his goal in the 85th. He ran over 60 yards down the field and finished in the bottom left corner for South Carolina's fourth of the night.

Man of the match

There can’t be a man of the match other than Jeffrey Torda. While he was quiet for most of the game, he showed up in a loud way. His goal to put South Carolina ahead was a beauty, something that Zlatan Ibrahimovic would pull off. The Colleyville, Texas man ended the match with two shots on goal in 62 minutes. His goal was worthy of SportCenter's Top 10.