The South Carolina men's soccer team beat USC Upstate 2-1 in overtime Wednesday night in a long, physical game that featured nine yellow cards. The Gamecocks scored the winning goal in the first half of sudden death extra time to improve to 5-2 on the season.
South Carolina failed to carry the momentum from their 4-2 win on Sunday into the first half. The first half had 15 fouls and six yellow cards.
Although USC Upstate beat the Gamecocks for shots in the half with six, they failed to reach South Carolina goalkeeper Ryan Bilichuk, compared to the Gamecocks' one of two shots made on target. Neither team was able to net a goal, and the first 45 minutes elapsed scoreless.
The Gamecocks came out hot in the second half, keeping the pressure on USC Upstate and eventually scoring a goal in the 59th minute. The goal came from a bad pass made by Upstate goalkeeper Felipe Baeza that ended up being intercepted by South Carolina sophomore forward Logan Frost.
Baeza was fully out of position and Frost floated the ball over his head into the back of the net to put the Gamecocks up 1-0.
“I didn’t think I hit it hard enough,” Frost said. “I actually thought I hit it too soft, but it went over.”
USC Upstate wouldn’t let South Carolina stay ahead for long, scoring quickly after in the 72nd minute. The goal came from freshman forward Jeremy Montero after the ball came to his feet from a saved shot by Bilichuk.
Bilichuk was still recovering from the save when Montero tapped it in to even the score at 1. Neither team could break through for a winning goal in regulation, so the game went into extra time.
“For a lot of our players, this was their first overtime," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said.
Extra time didn’t last very long, thanks to its sudden death style and South Carolina's will. In the 96th minute, sophomore forward Brian Banahan scored the game-winning goal with an assist from freshman defender Justin Kopay.
“I was just lucky the ball came back to me and I was able to finish it,” Banahan said, describing his game-winner. The Gamecock bench cleared as they celebrated their win.
The Gamecocks hit the road Sunday to take on Furman University at Greenville. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.