LA JOLLA, Calif. - Christian Cordell slammed his close-range shot into the back of the net as the scoreboard clock indicated one second remaining in the first overtime Thursday night, to give the University of California San Diego men's soccer team a thriller of a 1-0 triumph over Concordia Irvine at Triton Soccer Stadium.
In the literal second it took between the public address announcer saying "one" and "zero" to indicate the end of the first of two potential extra periods, Cordell had hit the target. As often the fifth-year senior winger out of Huntington Beach has done in his Triton career, he was in the right place at the right time, finishing off the most clever of short crosses by sophomore teammate Brett Jones.
It was the first goal and first assist of the season for Cordell and Jones. The decisive sequence had started with junior Jonathan Stoop drawing a foul just inside his offensive half. With the Eagles' Jose Garfias being issued a yellow card for the challenge by the match official, by rule, the clock was stopped, showing seven seconds. Junior center back Kelvin Uribe took the kick and lofted it into the penalty box. Redshirt senior right back and captain Jeff Powers rose with three defenders, and appeared to nod the ball down toward the left edge of the six-yard box.
Jones took one settling touch with his right, and then with his second touch, flicked the ball with the outside of his right foot, all with his back to goal. A leaping Cordell latched on at the back post and narrowly beat Concordia goalie Mackenzie Hutchins with the inside of his right boot. The official time of the goal went down as 99:59.
With a third straight home win to begin the new season, UC San Diego improves to 3-0. Concordia, picked to finish second in the Pacific West Conference (PacWest), thus making the result that much bigger, is left looking for a first win, now at 0-2.
UC San Diego sophomore goalkeeper Pedro Enciso made three saves for his second individual clean sheet on the year, and ninth of his career. Hutchins had six stops.
The Tritons were largely ineffective through a first 45 minutes that saw a 4-2 edge in shots for the visitors. Concordia laid claim to the only two shots on target, with Enciso coming up with a particularly tough rejection on Connor Gordon, himself a fifth-year senior from Huntington Beach, in the 35th minute, diving to his left.
In the second half, it was all UC San Diego. Among 11 shots to just three for the Eagles, were two ambitious efforts early from distance by Cordell, that were caught with relative ease by Hutchins, and a grass-cutting, right-footed laser by redshirt sophomore Hunter Fields in the 79th that Hutchins had to get down to his right to parry away with considerable difficulty. The final shots tally was 14-8.
Cordell had a goal disallowed with about 30 minutes to go in regulation, as it looked as though Stoop was adjudged to have handled the ball after a corner kick.
The Tritons were playing without three regulars in holding central midfielder Matt Merrill, winger Andy Sartor and freshman center back Noah Sonenstein. Stoop, senior Kiefer Cooksey and redshirt freshman Oliver Nelson (Escondido/Escondido HS) filled in more than admirably, with Nelson earning his first collegiate start. Powers, Nelson, Uribe and junior left back Stjepan Kilic made up the four-person back line in front of Enciso, with Stoop in front of them, all aiding in the shutout.
Thursday marked the end of UC San Diego’s regular-season involvement with PacWest foes. The Tritons defeated Biola, Azusa Pacific and Concordia in succession, picked for seventh, fifth and second, respectively, in that league’s preseason poll.
The homestand continues with a rare Monday matinee on Sept. 10 at 1:30 p.m. at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla. Admission is free, or fans can watch live in high definition on UCSDtritons.tv.
Triton Notes: UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 3-1-2 ... The Tritons are an unbeaten 3-0-2 over their last five against the Eagles going back to 2008, four of them shutouts ... UC San Diego is 9-0-19 over its last 28 overtime contests, dating back to 2014 ... Christian Cordell's goal marked the eighth of his career, and fourth winner ... Brett Jones' assist was his second ... Jones took his first shot of 2018 in the 59th minute after going the first two matches without gaining credit for an attempt.
M⚽️: Clock stopped at 99:53. 7️⃣ seconds left in OT. Up steps Kelvin Uribe for free kick. Uribe➡️Powers➡️Jones➡️Cordell➡️🥅➡️🙌. #UCSanDiego (3-0) wins it just before horn sounds. @ItsSethESmith on 🎙. 🔱 #GoTritons #Tritons #CCAAms #D2SOC #NCAAD2 @NCAADII @goccaa pic.twitter.com/888U1Jpg0w— UCSD Athletics (@UCSDtritons) September 7, 2018