In a match that was characteristic of U.S.-Mexico soccer a spirited competition ending in frustration for the visiting side UCSB scored in the final minute of overtime to defeat the Mexico U-17 national team 2-1 on Tuesday night before a crowd of 8,425 at Harder Stadium.
It appeared the match was heading for a penalty-kick shootout with the score tied 1-1 when the Gauchos earned a corner kick in the 110th minute. Danny Barrera launched the ball in front of the goal, and fellow sophomore Joe Eubanks kicked it to the back of the net.
Much of the game was a shooting practice for the Mexicans, who are tuning up for the U-17 World Cup in Nigeria next month. They took 30 shots, but only one of them slid past UCSB goalkeeper Trond Helge Tasket a 12-yard strike by Daniel Guzman in the 38th minute. Thanks to Tasket’s save of a penalty kick, Mexico led just 1-0 at halftime.
The Gauchos tied the score early in the second half when sophomore Peter McGlynn unleashed a 20-yard straightaway shot that cleared goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez and dipped under the crossbar.
UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg used 17 players in the exhibition. All but two were freshmen and sophomores. Only three regular starters Michael Tetteh, Luis Silva and Barrera saw action for the Gauchos, all of them as substitutes in the second half.
Eubanks, a 6’2″ midfielder from Colorado, had accumulated only 29 minutes of collegiate playing time and had never attempted a shot before he took three cracks at the goal Tuesday night. The third time was the charm.
The Gauchos were under attack through most of the 20 minutes of overtime, as Mexico outshot them, 10-3. The visitors’ brilliant midfielder Gil Cordero controlled the ball as if he had glue on his shoes. But Mexico suffered a blow when defender Cesar Ibanez was red-carded for kicking a Gaucho in the 10th minute of overtime.
UCSB, ranked No. 7 in men’s Division I college soccer, has a road match Friday at San Diego State and returns home for a 6:30 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 27) game against UC Irvine. It will be preceded at 4 p.m. by a match between the UCSB and UCLA women’s teams.