The South Carolina men's soccer team defeated Winthrop 4-2 Friday night at Stone Stadium.
The Gamecocks' relentless attack and quality finishing were the difference makers in the match. Four different players scored, all earning their first goals of the season.
"We were clinical," head coach Tony Annan said. "They created a ton of chances ... and managed to put a couple of them away tonight, which we haven't done in the past couple of weeks."
Winthrop opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Kade McKenzie struck a ball from outside the box, which freshman goalkeeper Ben Alexander batted down into the feet of Louie Danielson, who slotted it into the back of the net.
Despite going down a goal early, South Carolina turned things around with an offensive flurry. In the 14th minute, graduate defender Will Crain lofted a free-kick over the Eagles' goalkeeper who caught it just inside the goal line.
The Gamecocks struck again in the 33rd minute, with this score coming from senior forward Brian Banahan. He tabbed his first goal of the season off a double-assist from freshman midfielder Rocky Perez and sophomore forward Adam Luckhurst. In addition to scoring his first goal of the campaign, the game marked Banahan's first start of the season.
"I've been working towards that, and to finally get it, it's very satisfying," Banahan said. "It just sort of made me more hungry to get more playing time throughout the season and hopefully score more goals to help us win."
The floodgates opened for South Carolina after Banahan's goal. Luckhurst added a score in the 36th minute and was followed closely by senior midfielder Parker League in the 45th minute, allowing the Gamecocks a 4-1 lead heading into halftime.
The offense fizzled out in the second half, but Annan was able to look to his bench to finish out the game, spreading out the workload for the final moments of the match. Outside of the starting lineup, nine players were able to rotate onto the pitch.
Winthrop concluded the scoring in the 75th minute when Alexander lost control of a free kick, and Bryan Marshall was there to knock it in.
The Gamecocks totaled 23 shots compared to Winthrop's 10 and had 11 corner kick opportunities to Winthrop's 5 throughout the night.
In preparation for their next match, the team will focus on rest. With seven games over the next five weeks, it's key for South Carolina to prioritize recovery according to Annan.
Up next, the Gamecocks will hit the road to take on UNCW on Sept. 13 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be streamed on FloSports.
"UNC Wilmington is a good team," Banahan said. "Hopefully just another good game, another solid team performance, and see if we can start putting more pieces together."