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Gonzalez, Gauchos Burn Oregon St. on the Counter in 3-1 Win

Finn Ballard McBride and Lucas Gonzalez (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Finn Ballard McBride and Lucas Gonzalez (Photo by Jeff Liang)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team punished Oregon State on the counter on Friday night at Harder Stadium, putting up a season-high in goals to defeat the defending Pac-12 champs, 3-1.

The Gauchos improve to 3-1-1 while dropping a good Beaver team to 1-2-1.

HOW IT HAPPENED
Oregon State looked dangerous early on, pressing high and owning possession in the opening minutes. However, the Beavers couldn't convert their chances and the Gauchos would capitalize on their aggression.

UCSB 1, Oregon St. 0 – Lucas Gonzalez 8' (Ledoux)
After a clearance from the Gauchos' defensive third, two OSU players collided in midfield and the ball dropped to Nemo Philipp. The Hamburg, Germany native took two dribbles before cutting through the Beavers' back line with an incisive lead pass to forward Alexis Ledoux. The speedy sophomore collected it and took on two defenders in the box, eventually drawing goalkeeper Luis Castillo out to make a save. Midfielder Lucas Gonzalez was first to the ball following the deflection, and he was able to connect with a left-footed shot on first contact to open the scoring in the 8th minute.

Perhaps due to a combination of excessive heat and early aggression, Oregon State's pressure began to dwindle and the Gauchos continued to gain control of the match. Once again, the home side would hurt the Beavers on the counter in the 23rd minute.

UCSB 2, Oregon St. 0 – Ballard McBride 23' (Gonzalez, Figueroa)
Substitute Pablo Figueroa received a pass with tons of space on the left flank and dropped in a perfect downfield ball to Gonzalez. After controlling it off his head, Gonzalez twisted his body and sent a surreal, instinctual through ball forward with the outside of his foot and his back to the goal. This time, it was forward Finn Ballard McBride needing just one touch to score, sending his shot across to the same left post as Gonzalez' earlier goal.

UCSB 2, Oregon St. 1 – Perez 28' (Spikner)
When the Beavers did threaten, it was usually down the left wing. In the 28th minute, they were finally rewarded with a goal, as forward Ellis Spikner sent a low cross in to David Perez who beat the Gaucho defense to make it a 2-1 game.

UCSB 3, Oregon St. 1 – Philipp 66'
The Gauchos continued to wear the Oregon State defense down in the second half. Philipp got a good look from the edge of the box in the 59th minute that he hit with full force, but it sailed high. Less than seven minutes later, he would get another chance. After beating his man with a cheeky dummy and turn, the junior midfielder set himself up for one of his patented left-footed strikes from just outside the 18. Philipp placed his perfectly hit, low curler just past the outstretched arms of Castillo and in off the far left post, giving him his first goal of the season and sealing the win.

NOTABLE

  • Since returning to the lineup after an injured start to the season, Gonzalez has provided a huge boost to the Gaucho offense. He now has an assist in all three of his appearances, while also notching his first goal of the year against the Beavers. In just three games, he has matched both his goal and his assist totals from 2021.
  • Two-time defending Big West scoring champ Finn Ballard McBride now has a go-ahead goal in two straight outings, both of which went down as game-winners.

QUOTABLE

Tim Vom Steeg on tonight's tactics...
"The gameplan was to counter, and in order to counter, we knew that we had to invite them in to open up the space. I said that the minute we turn them over, let's just run fast, and we just took off on them twice. We faced a good team obviously and it's a situation tonight where we took full advantage offensively."

Vom Steeg on the play of Gonzalez and the rest of the team...
"Lucas has been in-and-out. He hasn't been himself and he's still not there yet, but that was just Lucas at 80 percent, so we have another 20 percent to go. Our back three played great and our defense did its job tonight, staying inside of our men and taking care of corner kicks. Caden [Vom Steeg] had a lot of work to do on that left side because they kept dumping balls over his head and he was probably the fastest kid on the field. Alexis was Alexis, Sam played great too, and everybody that went in worked really, really hard."

Gonzalez on his incredible assist...
"I saw that the back line was pretty high. I decided to check in and make the run in behind, and Pablo played a beautiful ball. Finn always likes to run in behind, he knows that I like to slip pass, so I was able to feed him. It was a great goal and a beautiful finish from him."

Gonzalez on spending his summer playing in the USL2...
"It was super beneficial. I definitely was able to build my confidence a little bit because I'd been injured the years previous. I was able to maintain fitness and play against and with incredible players, just leading me to be more prepared for this upcoming season. I felt great tonight, it was a beautiful team performance. We all worked for each other, all worked hard and thankfully we were able to come out with a win."

NEXT UP
UCSB continues its three-game home stand this Sunday, Sept. 11 against Utah State at 7:00 p.m. on First Responders Night.