The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: South Carolina men's soccer team loses to USC Upstate due to defensive mistakes

<p>The USC Upstate goalie defends the ball as sophomore defense Junior Juste attempts to head the ball into the goal. The Upstate Spartans dominated the South Carolina Gamecocks with a 4-0 win.</p>
The USC Upstate goalie defends the ball as sophomore defense Junior Juste attempts to head the ball into the goal. The Upstate Spartans dominated the South Carolina Gamecocks with a 4-0 win.

The South Carolina men's soccer team lost 4-0 to USC Upstate in a game defined by miscues from the Gamecocks.

The first, and perhaps most costly mistake, came in the second minute when USC Upstate senior midfielder Jimmy James scored from a corner kick. The problems continued for the Gamecocks when redshirt sophomore midfielder Jack Burgess was shown a straight red card in the tenth minute. 

Despite the setbacks early in the match, the Gamecocks were able to create a flurry of chances in the following minutes after going down to ten men. The Gamecocks' efforts were rewarded with a penalty in the 12th minute for a handball, but the tough miscues continued as redshirt freshman goalkeeper Cooper Jennings saved the shot.

"I'm proud of the lads," South Carolina head coach Tony Annan said. "With 10 men creating so many chances, creating so much possession, and creating trouble for the other team, with 10 men — it looked like they were ones with 10 men, to be honest, the way they were playing." 

Despite the effort by the Gamecocks, USC Upstate continued to punish South Carolina's mistakes in the first half, resulting in Upstate's second goal of the match. After a long ball by Upstate was played in the box, the ball bounced off Gamecock defenders, ultimately landing at the feet of senior forward Jeremy Montero, who calmly slotted a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal. 

USC Upstate headed into the half with a 2-0 advantage, despite the Gamecocks controlling the offensive stat sheet.

The second half proved to be a similar story to the first half for the Gamecocks. Despite creating multiple chances, the Gamecocks could not find the back of the net. 

final-scoreMSOC upstate.png

Even though South Carolina dialed back the mistakes in the second half, USC Upstate continued to be clinical near goal. In the 56th minute, Upstate scored its third goal, courtesy of Montero, who collected his second goal of the match. Things only got worse for the Gamecocks when USC Upstate freshman forward Dario Stadler rifled a long-range effort from outside the box into the top right corner of the net in the 70th minute for Upstate's fourth goal. 

"It's tough," sophmore defender Junior Saint Juste said. "To concede four goals as a defender is really tough. We just gotta work, do things better ... Yeah, we gotta learn from this game and keep our head up and go again." 

Despite being down to 10 men for the majority of the match, the Gamecocks ended the game with more shots and corners than USC Upstate, leaving a lot to be positive about going into the next game in spite of the final score. 

"It's hard not to be disappointed," senior forward Adam Luckhurst said. "I think we know how much better we are than them, and it's just our luck that things turned out the way they did. But, I mean, we showed that we could play. We showed that we can play without 11 people on the field. And I think, again, we created chances more than we have, and that's good for us." 

With the loss, the Gamecocks move to 2-5-1 (1-1-0 Sun Belt). The Gamecocks will travel to Virginia this Saturday to take on James Madison University. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+. 


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