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Monday, April 15, 2024

Casen Goodman’s late goal helps the Aggies earn a draw against Cal Poly

UC Davis outplays Cal Poly but can’t close game

 

By MARLON ROLON — sports@theaggie.org

 

After scoring his first career goal on Sept. 20, helping UC Davis clinch their first win of the season, first-year striker Casen Goodman did it again, this time against Cal Poly on Wednesday afternoon at Aggie Soccer Field in Big West Conference play. 

Goodman’s header in the 77th minute helped the Aggies (1-5-3, 0-0-1) avoid a loss in their conference play opener, instead ending in a 1-1 draw. Prior to the game against Cal Poly, Goodman was named the Big West Freshman of the Week. In the team’s last three matches, he has scored two goals for the Aggies.

However, UC Davis’s offense as a whole has been a letdown so far this season. Creating goal-scoring opportunities isn’t the issue for the Aggies, but the Aggies have had trouble putting the ball in the back of the net all season long, scoring only seven goals in 10 games. 

This was evident in the game against Cal Poly. UC Davis dominated the entire game, shooting at the goal 16 times throughout the contest. 

In the first half, the Aggies came out playing with a sense of urgency, constantly attacking the Mustangs’ defense. In just the fourth minute of play, fourth-year midfielder Andy Velasquez crossed the ball into the box to set up senior defender Max Glasser for a shot, but the attempt was blocked by Cal Poly’s goalkeeper. 

Another goal-scoring opportunity came in the 19th minute for UC Davis. Third-year midfielder Ryan Dieter dribbled the ball toward two defenders while executing a brilliant pass to third-year striker Ethan Hoard, who was left open inside the box but could not finish on a one-on-one play against the goalkeeper.

UC Davis was awarded a corner kick immediately after Hoard’s shot. Dieter’s excellent corner kick was bounced around into a crowded box, ultimately hitting the goal post. 

At this point in the game, the Mustangs were held on one side of the field as they played defense for most of the half. 

Cal Poly’s offense rarely generated plays throughout the match, but when they did, they made them count. Third-year midfielder Tony Ruiz put the Mustangs ahead in the 23rd minute of the first half with a goal from a throw-in to the box.

UC Davis Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer and his team looked visibly frustrated due to the fact that the Aggies were dominating the pitch throughout the half, but could not seem to score a goal.

The first-half stats provided insight into the Aggies’ offensive dominance: UC Davis took eight shots while Cal Poly took only three. Additionally, Dieter played a fantastic half, creating goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates and controlling the midfield.

The start of the second half resembled the first half. Dieter came close to scoring in the fourth minute of action, shooting toward the bottom left of the net, but the Cal Poly goalkeeper once again made a fantastic save. 

With the Mustangs ahead 1-0, they attempted to slow the game down by playing the ball back to their defense, making the Aggies chase the ball. The tactic seemed to slow the home team down, and play was mostly in the middle of the field. 

As the game progressed, UC Davis came close to scoring in the 60th minute with a cross near the left goal post. Hoard headered the ball, narrowly missing the side of the net.

In the 78th minute, UC Davis finally caught a break. Second-year striker Keegan Walwyn-Bent sent a cross to the far left side of the box toward Hoard, who faked his shot and crossed the ball to Goodman, who sank the ball into the net, tying up the match.

The home crowd jumped out of their seats and erupted in relief while the entire Aggie bench ran onto the pitch to celebrate with Goodman.

The last five minutes of play were intense, as Walwyn-Bent once again crossed the ball and found Goodman inside the box. Instead of shooting, Goodman passed to Hoard, who was within five feet of the net — but a defender blocked his shot. It was a missed opportunity that left the crowd in disbelief. 

After this, the game seemed to be over, but with 29 seconds remaining, UC Davis had one last offensive opportunity. The ball was kicked into the box, allowing Velasquez to quickly touch the ball to Goodman. His shot was deflected by the goalkeeper’s foot and the ball bounced right into Hoard, who shot the ball to the side of the net but missed. 

The game was arguably the best offensive performance by the Aggies so far this season. While it seems they are coming together as a team, the Aggies are still learning how to close out games. 

The squad is in a new era this season, with 13 new players joining veteran leaders Velasquez, Glasser, Dieter and Hoard. Freshmen Goodman, striker Marcus Garcia and defensive midfielder Zack Lillington are improving with each game, and Goodman is the leading scorer with two tallies and an assist, while Garcia and Lillington have each scored one goal a piece. 

UC Davis traveled to Riverside on Saturday, October 1, where they lost to the Highlanders for only the third time since 2012. On October 5, the Aggies returned home to face UC Irvine and will be on the road again heading to CSUN this weekend.

 

Written by: Marlon Rolon — sports@theaggie.org