Posted: Sep 29, 2019
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Eduardo Lopez Perez's goal in the 54th minute and Alejandro Barajas' insurance goal late in the match lifted Santa Clara men's soccer to a 2-0 win over Evansville on Saturday on a hot, muggy afternoon at McCutchan Staidum where the temperature reached the mid-90s. The win was the second shutout victory over the weekend after the Broncos made a cross country trip to beat Lipscomb by same score of 2-0 on Friday.
"Getting the win on Friday night was a good confidence builder leading into today as I'm very pleased with this road trip and the progress the team has made getting shutouts on back-to-back games," said Broncos head coach Cam Rast. "But we have a ways to go. It's important that we play different types of teams and we knew it was going to be good road trip with the quality of teams and against a really a good Lipscomb team that made the Sweet 16 last season. And today against Evansville, we went into the match with a good mindset even though we didn't know if we had the legs and quality of play after the short rest, but we did have it. It speaks to the mental toughness and grit of the team."
Santa Clara (5-3-1) knocked on the door with multiple scoring opportunities throughout the match before Lopez Perez finally took advantage of an opening to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead. The play started with Presten Manthey's low free kick that was deflected by an Evansville defender to the left side where Christensen lobbed it towards the backside post that Lopez Perez headed in.
For the game, Santa Clara outshot Evansville (2-5-1), 19-4 including a 10-2 advantage on frame.
Two minutes before Lopez Perez's goal, Santa Clara had a golden opportunity but Alejandro Barajas' header was deflected by Evansville goalkeeper Frederik Reimer off the post and cleared by the Evansville defender.
Barajas got another scoring opportunity in the 89th minute, converting a penalty kick. The Broncos were awarded the penalty kick on Matt Golbranson's hustle play. Having entered the match just moments before, Golbranson chased down an Evansville defender who was dribbling the ball towards his own goal, but the Bronco senior picked his pocket and was tripped up inside the box to draw the foul.
Despite controlling possession and outshooting the Purple Aces 5-2 in the first half, the Broncos could not put the finishing touches until Lopez Perez broke through shortly after intermission.
Broncos goalkeeper Guillem Badenes Mecho recorded his third clean sheet of the season while making two saves.
"The team defending was good again today. It is a continuous good play by Emil in leading the group and not doing too much. Damani is also coming along, playing smart. He is maturing because of his international experience as he is not overwhelmed by the physicality. And Saku and Alejandro have been solid. Having Guillem between the posts gives the group good confidence as he helps steady the backline," said Rast.
• The win snapped Evansville's nonconference home unbeaten streak that stretched over a year, with the last loss coming on Sept. 21, 2018 against then-fifth ranked Indiana.
• The back-to-back shutout wins are the first since 2016 when the Broncos beat UC Irvine and SMU by a 1-0 score.
• Lopez Perez is tied for the team lead in goals with two alongside Sam Agosti and Alan Camacho Soto.
• Barajas is the 13th Bronco to score a goal this season. Thirteen Broncos have accounted for 16 total goals.
• The Broncos have allowed one or fewer goals in all nine matches this season.
Santa Clara closes out nonconference play at CSUN on Saturday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT.