Senior Status: Johnson Slots Winner In Final Minute for USC
Sept. 14, 2012
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. - The USC women's soccer team shrugged off a two-goal halftime deficit and plugged in three big goals on the road for a gutsy win over host San Diego. The Trojans picked up momentum throughout the second half, and it seemed a fitting finish when senior Samantha Johnson slotted the game-winner with just 15 ticks to go to lift USC to a 3-2 win over the Toreros. After a winless four-game stretch, tonight's road win is a big boost for USC, which improves to 3-3-1 overall in avenging an early comeback loss to San Diego this season. The Toreros go to 3-6-0 with the loss.
An opportunistic San Diego squad built a 2-0 halftime lead on the Trojans, finding the endline and then the finish to put USC in a tough spot for the second half. USC would make its turnaround in the second, though, changing tacks to shut out the Toreros from any more corner kick opportunities and taking away crossing chances. Meanwhile, the USC offense swelled with confidence when Jordan Marada finally hit the back of the net for the Trojans in the 52nd minute of play. The pressure cranked up when the equalizer was still looming out of reach as the final 10 minutes came up, but Elizabeth Eddy knocked in a loose ball in the box to pull even in the 85th, and USC rode the wave of momentum through the final few minutes to set up the heroics from Samantha Johnson in the last minute of action for the win.
The Trojans were the harassers for the bulk of the first half, creating some close-range opportunities against the San Diego net. But somehow, it would be the Toreros who struck first in the match. After a low cross found San Diego feet for a shot off the far post, Torero Mariah Butera collected the rebound at the top corner of the area and blasted a score just under the crossbar to take the hosts ahead 1-0 in the 26th minute.
The Trojans dominated possession and moved the ball well to build opportunities, including one series that was whistled away on an offsides call. In the 40th minute, San Diego would strike again. This one came on a corner kick that USC goalkeeper Caroline Stanley pushed out, only to put the ball at the head of Torero Sierra Ferreira to take a 2-0 lead for the hosts just before the half.
In the 52nd minute, though, the Trojans found a spark. Jamie Fink moved the ball up for Haley Boysen, who slipped a pass to Jordan Marada. Marada, from distance, looped in a shot to the far post, soaring it in to get the Trojans finally on the board and cut the score to 2-1. Hungrier after that score, the Trojans continued to create chances. With time slipping away, the Trojans kept pushing. In the 86th minute, USC finally found the equalizer, with Elizabeth Eddy buzzing around the box as the Toreros frantically tried to clear a Trojan ball sent in. Eddy cleaned up a ball off the post, firing to the back of the net to make it 2-2.
A minute later, freshman Katie Johnson almost had a flashy winner with a slick backheel to the far post; but it was cleared out off the line. USC set up for a couple corners in the final minutes as the Trojans kept constant pressure on the San Diego defense. In the final minute, freshman Jamie Fink sent the ball up to Samantha Johnson on the loose. The senior slipped through the winner, finding the far post against a charging San Diego keeper, to propel the Trojans to an impressive comeback win on a 3-2 decision. The win also snapped a four-game losing skid to San Diego.
The Women of Troy now return home to take on the nation's No. 19 team with a 1 p.m. Sunday matchup against Portland at McAlister Field.
USC 3, San Diego 2
SAVES: Caroline Stanley (USC) 2, McKenna Tollack (USD) 5.
SHOTS: USC 18, USD 7.
CORNER KICKS: USC 6, USD 4.
FOULS: USC 6, USD 3.