Eyayou Leads Men's Soccer to 2-1 Win Over Winnipeg
The USF men's soccer team ended the 2011 season on a high note, as the Cougars overcame a 1-0 first half deficit to defeat the University of Winnipeg, 2-1 in the third-place game of the USF Classic, held this weekend at USF Field.
Fans were treated to a match full of fouls (13), yellow cards (4) and attacking---the two sides combined for 21 shots---with the Cougars firing 14 total attempts.
"Winnipeg is a physical team and the first half was a battle," USF head coach Paul Bennett said after the match. "I told the guys at half (down 1-0) that we don't want to end the season this way and to put the pressure on in the second. I think we did, and as a result we got two goals to get the win."
The Wesmen set a fast and physical tempo early, as they pressured the USF back end relentlessly, creating multiple scoring opportunities and picking up the match's first yellow card at the 15 minute mark. The Cougars would counter with a good attack of their own in the middle of the first half, an attack which included a point-black shot by junior Connor Shefte that sailed just north of the crossbar.
Winnipeg took the lead in the 43rd minute when Adam Bromley sent a crossing pass to the front of the goal where Sean Dong was waiting and he touched it home to give the Wesmen a 1-0 lead they would carry into the half.
The Cougars equalized when Shefte sent a ball to the left side of the penalty area, and immediately cut toward the net. Senior Amare Eyayou settled it, and sent a quick pass back to Shefte, who blasted the ball past Winnipeg keeper Tyson Farago.
"When we play together as we are supposed to, that is what happens," Bennett said. "We create opportunities and we tuck them away."
Where Shefte buried his chance at net, Eyayou was left wanting.
The Cougars continued to press in the second half. Several times it was just inches that made the difference- one shot glanced off the crossbar and a couple others were just wide - but Farago survived them all.
In the closing minutes of the match, Eyayou displayed the speed and technical footwork that has made him the most exciting player on Coach Bennett's roster the past two seasons.
Eyayou blew past the Wesmen defense and fired a low ball that Farago stopped but could not contain. Eyayou collected the rebound and one-timed it into the net with 67 seconds remaining for the fourth game-winning goal of his career.
"The goal was a team effort," Eyayou said. "But, it was my last game and I wanted to finish in a memorable way."
With the win, the Cougars finish the season with an overall record 7-9-1 while the Wesmen fell to 13-3-1.
Eyayou led USF with five shots on the day, including two on frame. Senior keeper Adam Wemhoff made three saves between the pipes for the Cougars.
The win caps the end of the collegiate careers for five USF seniors: Amare Eyayou, Zach Jurgens, Cody Lutes, Barry Owen and Adam Wemhoff.