LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Facing a two-goal halftime deficit, the 16th-ranked Louisville men’s soccer team responded in impressive fashion scoring four second half goals in an entertaining 4-2 comeback win over visiting CSU Bakersfield on Sunday afternoon at Cardinal Park.
After back-to-back shutout losses and a scoreless opening frame on Sunday, the Cardinals (3-2-0) found the back of the net quickly in the second half after senior Jimmy Ockford (Yardley, Pa./Mount St. Mary's) cut the deficit to 2-1 just 50 seconds in. Only 13 minutes later, while playing with just 10 players after a red card ejection earlier in the half, freshman Ivan Gutierrez (Hallandale Beach, Fla./Hallendale Beach HS) scored his first career goal for Louisville to even the score before senior Zack Foxhoven (Littleton, Colo./UCLA) gave connected for the game-winner in the 85th minute. Sophomore Marlon Hairston (Jackson, Miss./IMG Pendleton School) added a final goal for the Cardinals in the final moments to put the Roadrunners (2-3-0) away for good.
“It was certainly good to get this win but more important was how we won the game with the spirit of the team in the second half and how they worked hard for each other and with each other,” said Louisville head coach Ken Lolla. “That showed tonight and was the difference in the game. Honestly, it had not been there in the last two games, so we were pleased with the result but we were more pleased with the change in spirit and how we went about it.”
CSU Bakersfield moved ahead quickly in Sunday’s match when Eduardo Caldaza scored inside the left post in the seventh minute for his team-leading fourth goal of the season. The Roadrunners pushed the advantage to 2-0 late in the opening half after David Velasquez scored inside the near post from the right side with just three minutes left before the break for his second goal of the season.
Louisville increased the offensive pressure and started its comeback in the opening minute of the second half when sophomore Ricardo Velazco (Casa Grande, Ariz./Cal State San Bernardino) sent a free kick into to the 18 where Ockford connected from 12 yards away for his second goal of the season. The assist for Velazco was his third as a Cardinal.
Despite playing a man down after junior Daniel Keller (Carmel, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit Prep School) was ejected in the 51st minute after being issues his second yellow card of the match, the Cardinals kept the pressure on and pulled even at 2-2 at the 58:53 mark of the match when Gutierrez sent a looping shot from 20 yards away over the head of CSUB goalkeeper Anthony Perez and into the goal. Sophomore Jonathan Brown (Clinton, Ky./University of Kentucky) was credited with his first assist of the season on the first collegiate goal for Gutierrez.
After numerous offensive attacks, Louisville eventually broke through for the game-winner at 84:18 when freshman Andrew Brody (Orlando, Fla./Vista Grande HS) made a deep run down the left side of the pitch before sending a perfectly placed cross to Foxhoven, who scored inside the far post from the left side of the box for his first goal of the season and the sixth of his career. Brody earned his team-leading fourth assist on the goal as Foxhoven made his first start of 2013.
“It feels great to be back and be a part of this team, but I think the win is more important,” said Foxhoven, who missed the Cardinals’ first three matches of the season with an injury. “Bouncing back after Friday’s loss and really fighting back in this game showed that we do have character and can come back. We came in at halftime and that was gut-check time. We knew what we had to do and we went out and won the game.”
The final goal of the evening came with just 1:01 left in the match after Hairston took a pass from senior Derek McCaffrey (Gronton, Mass./Boston University) on the right side of the field and beat the Roadrunners’ Perez inside the near post for the Cardinals’ fourth goal of the half. It was the first goal of the season and the fourth career for Hairston, while the assist for McCaffrey was his first as a Cardinal.
Defensively for Louisville, junior goalkeeper Joachim Ball (Deutenberg, Germany) made a pair of important second half saves as the Cardinals mounted their comeback for his third win of the season. Perez finished with two saves, one in each half, while allowing all four second half goals in taking the loss for the Roadrunners. Overall, the Cardinals finished with a 24-8 advantage in shots, including a 6-4 edge in shots on goal, while also holding an 8-4 lead in corner kicks.
Up next, Louisville returns to the road for its American Athletic Conference opener at UCF on Saturday at 7 p.m., ET in Orlando, Fla.
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