Gauchos have goal taken away in 0-0 draw with Villanova

John Fogarty was the fortunate son for the Villanova Wildcats on Sunday.

The senior goalkeeper denied UCSB from winning the game with a huge save in the 90th minute and got some earlier help from the cross bar as Villanova battled the No. 6-ranked Gauchos to a scoreless draw before 2,461at Harder Stadium.

The result was the third straight shutout for the Gauchos, who are 4-0-1 going into Friday’s clash at arch-rival UCLA. Villanova heads back to Philadelphia at 2-1-2.

Fogarty made the play of the game in the final seconds of regulation time as he dived to his left and tipped away a flash header from Gaucho forward Gaby Okito.

“That was a big-time save,” Villanova coach Tom Carlin said.

Fogarty and the Wildcats also got a huge break in the first half on blown penalty kick by UCSB. After a hand-ball violation was called against Villanova during a scramble in its box, UCSB’s Luis Silva stepped up to take the resulting PK and beat Fogarty with a shot into the upper left corner. But referee Juan Guzman waved it off, ruling that Gaucho James Kiffe encroached into the area before the kick.

On the retake, Silva went for the same spot but clanked his shot off the corner of the cross bar.

“I take blame, I should have put it away the second time, too,” said Silva.

Asked if thought about changing the placement of his kick, Silva said, “I’m not going to change my spot. I just hesitated on the second one.”

The Gauchos controlled possession in the second half as a tiring Villanova sat back and played for the counterattack.

“They worked really hard in the first half to run us down,” UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg said of the athletic Wildcats. “You saw when the second half started they didn’t even come out … they were done. It was just a matter of us not making a mistake in the back and doing something up front.”

UCSB got some good looks but couldn’t come up with a finishing touch up front. A nice passing sequence between Josue Madueno, Okito and David Opoku broke down the defense, but Opoku booted his shot from 15 yards over the bar in the 84th minute. Two minutes later, Sam Garza set up Opoku for a clear shot in the box that was stopped by Fogarty.

“We weren’t sharp enough throughout the whole game to put enough together to get through,” Vom Steeg said.

UCSB’s best scoring chance in overtime was a 22-yard free kick by Silva that just missed wide of the far post.

Villanova, which suffered a 1-0 loss at Cal Poly on Friday, came out strong in the first half. The Wildcats created a dangerous chance in 25th minute, but Gaucho center back Peter Schmetz denied them by clearing Kyle Soroka’s shot off the goal-line. Seconds later, Kevin Garcia slammed a shot off the far post.

“We knew we could match up with them,” said Carlin.

Vom Steeg said the game played out like a typical Sunday game after an emotional one on Friday night — the Gauchos blanked No. 8 West Virginia 2-0 on Friday.

“I don’t care how many times you say it, you have a team that is a proud team … a Big East team coming off a loss Friday night that’s playing a top-10 team in the country, and you know what you’re going to get, and you’ve got to match that,” he said. “The first half we didn’t match it. At the same time, we knew they were doing so much work out there, that you’re not gong to stay with that for 90 minutes.

“Then it should have been us finishing the game, and we didn’t do that.”