The South Carolina men's soccer team suffered its first loss to an in-conference opponent this season, falling 1-0 to Georgia State in a yellow card-heavy game.
The result marked the second consecutive year in which the Gamecocks were shut out by the Panthers.
“(We) didn’t have the urgency, didn't have the desire,” head coach Tony Annan said. “We’re not a bad team. We’re not bad players. We just gotta come ready.”
The Gamecocks spent much of the first half with possession of the ball but were unable to generate opportunities towards its opponents' goal. South Carolina employed a conservative approach during the early stages of the match, primarily keeping the ball in its own half of the field and passing it between its back three defenders.
The Panthers countered the Gamecocks' less aggressive strategy with direct attacks towards goal, and it was eventually rewarded with the only goal of the match in the 18th minute. After a giveaway by the Gamecock defense, the ball found its way to Georgia State sophomore midfielder Justin McLean, who crossed it to senior midfielder Simon Carlson. Once the ball reached Carlson's foot, he rifled a shot into the far left corner to give the Panthers the lead.
Georgia State headed into half with an advantage in most offensive categories — including a 2-0 advantage in shots and a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks — but South Carolina's defense held firm despite immense pressure from the visitors.
While the Gamecocks did not register a shot during the first half, the team was played with aggression when attempting to regain possession of the ball. South Carolina accumulated six fouls and two players — sophomore midfielder Rocky Perez in about the 28th minute and redshirt sophomore midfielder Jack Burgess at nearly the 32nd — were yellow carded.
The chippiness between both teams continued to the second half, resulting in five total yellow cards being shown in the final 45 minutes of the match. South Carolina saw its third yellow card in the 60th minute after a hard foul by sophomore defender Junior Saint Juste. Georgia State eventually found itself in the book by the 82nd minute, adding two more yellow cards by match's end.
After the halftime interval, not only did the Gamecocks increase its intensity, but it also found some offensive momentum after freshman midfielder Jordan Illian registered the team's first shot of the game for the team in the 66th minute. South Carolina would finish the half with six shots — just as many as Georgia State during that time.
In the final minutes of the game, South Carolina produced dangerous scoring opportunities as they searched for an equalizer. From about the 83rd minute onward, the Gamecocks tallied five corner kicks but were unable to find the back of the net and tie the game.
It continued to be a frustrating night for the home side when sophomore defender William Nilsson was sent off in the 88th minute, ending his game in the midst of an offensive outburst by South Carolina.
With tonight’s loss, the Gamecocks move to 2-4-1 (1-1-0 Sun Belt). The Gamecocks stay at home for a 7 p.m. kickoff against USC Upstate on Tuesday, which will be broadcasted on ESPN+.