The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: South Carolina men's soccer falls short against Kentucky in coach Berson's last regular season match

<p>Freshman midfielder Jordan Matthews dribbles the ball during the game on April 17, 2021.</p>

Freshman midfielder Jordan Matthews dribbles the ball during the game on April 17, 2021.

The South Carolina men’s soccer team fell to the Kentucky Wildcats 2-1 at home on Saturday in what was long-time head coach Mark Berson's last regular season game. South Carolina struggled to get anything going early, never developing a strong offense. 

Entering the match the Gamecocks (8-6-1, 2-3-1) were tied with Kentucky (10-4-2, 2-3-1) for fifth place in the conference.

The Gamecocks kept it close in the first half, keeping Kentucky to only three shots on goal with 13 shots overall. South Carolina had five shots with only one on goal.

In the 28th minute Wildcats junior defender Robert Screen scored a goal low and left to put Kentucky in the lead, 1-0.

As the second half began, the Gamecocks could rarely get by defenders to shoot, but when they had the chance it was on goal. 

South Carolina had four shots with an efficient three shots on goal. The defense gave up only three shots on goal to Kentucky with seven total shots. 

While playing good defense, the Wildcats stayed out of foul trouble, giving them more chances to make a play and take more overall shots. 

The Gamecocks played better defensively in the second half compared to the first, only giving up seven shots as opposed to the 13 shots in the first half.

A big hindrance for South Carolina was the number of fouls racked up in both halves of the game.

The Gamecocks finished with 10 fouls for the game, two of which were yellow cards, while Kentucky only had five fouls.

Then in the 56th minute, junior midfielder Marcel Meinzer for Kentucky scored a goal off a penalty kick, pushing the Wildcats' lead to 2-0.

After that goal, Kentucky had control for the majority of the second half, as South Carolina only put three shots on goal in the half.

In the 85th minute the Gamecocks finally put one on the board thanks to a goal from freshman midfielder Justin Kopay off a rebounded save on a penalty kick.

As the match ended, South Carolina attempted to score one last goal, but Kentucky held them off and secured the win.

“I’m excited about the future, and what can you say except thanks,” Berson said in his farewell to Gamecocks fans about the program.

Now South Carolina must wait and see if it receives an NCAA bid to determine whether or not the season is over.


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