USC Corners Cal State Fullerton For 3-2 Road Win|
Aug. 17, 2012
FULLERTON, CALIF. - The USC women's soccer team shrugged off a one-goal deficit and a red card that left it a player short, rattling off three goals in a 12-minute span for a wild 3-2 comeback win over Cal State Fullerton in the season opener. Set plays from newcomer Jordan Marada helped set up the first two goals, and she would finish off the third to punch in the winner for USC in her first game as a Trojan. Freshman Marlee Carrillo scored the first, and senior Samantha Johnson finished a penalty kick for the second as USC opens 2012 with a win.
The 2012 Women of Troy lined up with seven newcomers in starting roles, including six freshmen. As nerves were still settling out in the early stretch, the Titans were able to test USC's freshman goalkeeper Faith Sugerman with a few shots on goal. Sugerman was up to the test, knocking away several shots before her Trojan back line buckled in and the defense managed to defuse the Titan strikers for the remainder of the first half. Meanwhile, USC's fresh feet on the front lines manufactured some nice attacks, including an early corner kick from Jordan Marada and another smooth series that wrapped up with a Marada shot that was saved. Alex Quincey got a head on a Marada corner kick later in the half, but it went high, and the Trojans and the Titans would wind up scoreless after the first 45 minutes of the season opener.
Both teams traded deep charges into opposing territories out of the gates. The Women of Troy got dangerous chances with a close-range one-timer from Quincey that went just high and a one-on-one try from Katie Johnson that was tipped wide by the Titan keeper. Those opportunities came in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Titans would turn the tide next, however, earning back-to-back corner kicks. The second rattled around the box, where one hard shot from Stacey Fox was saved on the line by USC defender Autumn Altamirano. Titan Christina Burkenroad would get the rebound, though, and plugged that next try to the right side and back of the net to put Cal State Fullerton up 1-0 in the 57th minute of action. The Trojans charged back with the ball on the foot of senior Samantha Johnson, but her rocket to equalize hit the side net.
Eager to pull level, the Trojans had four straight chances to do so with a long series of corner kicks set up by Jordan Marada. First try, Altamirano delivered a laser from distance that Titan goalkeeper Pulliam made a nice save on. She'd push wide the next corner try on the left side. Marada's third strike found Megan Borman's head and another Pulliam save over the bar. Fourth time would be the charm for USC, as Marada set up another one from the left corner. Freshman defender Marlee Carrillo was there. She rattled a stinging header to the left post, and the game was locked up 1-1.
More drama came soon after. After a no call on a knockdown of Altamirano, Cal State Fullerton countered. Trying to stop a streaking striker gunning for a one-on-one with goalkeeper Sugerman, defender Kristina Noriega got tangled up with the Titan outside the penalty box. She was handed a yellow card initially, but that call was changed to red, sending Noriega to the sidelines while CSF lined up for a free kick. The shot hit the wall, and the rebound was send wide, but USC would have 24 minutes left to play with just 10 players.
You thought that was wild. Seven minutes later, a missed clearance by a Titan defender set up another USC corner kick. Once again, Marada found Carrillo for the header. She sent this one to the far post, where Titan defender Jennifer Smith was standing. She tried to knock the ball away, but used her hand in the process. That sent her off with a red card - leveling the game to 10-on-10 - and put USC on the penalty spot. Samantha Johnson lasered in a shot to the left, and USC was up 2-1 on the board and even on the field with the Titans.
Three minutes later, the Women of Troy kept pushing. Another missed clearance put the ball on the foot of sophomore Jessica Musmanno just inside the box. She found a wide-open Marada on the left side, and Marada fizzed in the score for a 3-1 advantage for the Trojans with 14 minutes left to play.
The action was far from over, however. Cal State Fullerton made things interesting with a late rally, cutting it to a 3-2 Trojan lead in finding space and finishing with a goal from Anne Marie Tangora with 1:45 remaining. Still, the Women of Troy would hang on for the win, thanks to one last diving effort from Sugerman to squelch a Titan shot just before the final minute. The freshman keeper finished her Trojan debut with six saves to anchor USC's opening victory.
USC now returns to McAlister Field for a home-opening weekend next week. The Women of Troy will host Saint Mary's at 3 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 24) followed by a televised clash with Minnesota at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Aug. 26). That match will mark USC's debut on the new Pac-12 Networks.
USC 3, Cal State Fullerton 2
SAVES: Faith Sugerman (USC) 6, Katie Pulliam (CSF) 5.
SHOTS: USC 16, CSF 17
CORNER KICKS: USC 8, CSF 5
FOULS: USC 6, CSF 10