MSoc: Gauchos pull out 2nd overtime victory

The UCSB men’s soccer team completed a rousing weekend on the road in the Big West on Sunday, beating UC Irvine 2-1 on a Kevin Garcia-Lopez goal in double overtime.

It was the fifth straight win for the Gauchos, who won in overtime at fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge on Friday night. They are now 4-0 in conference play — their best start in the Big West since 2009 — and 9-4 overall.

UCSB rallied from a 1-0 deficit while playing a man down after Marshall Cazares received a red card in the 53rd minute.

Junior forward Reed McKenna broke through for his first goal in the 62nd minute to tie the score. Receiving a feed from freshman midfielder Drew Murphy, McKenna fired a first touch shot just inside the left post.

UCI struck first with a 31st minute goal by Lester Hayes III.

The Gauchos made things tough on themselves when Cazares received a red card.

Just 11 minutes later, UC Irvine was whistled for a foul in the 18-yard box, giving the Gauchos their second penalty kick of the weekend. However, McKenna’s spot kick to the left of UCI keeper Michel Breslin was stopped as the teams headed to overtime with the score still knotted.

After an uneventful first overtime period that saw just two shots from both teams combined, Garcia-Lopez saved the Gauchos from their first tie of the season in the 109th minute. Making a run down the right wing, he advanced on and was able to beat the keeper with a shot inside the near post.

The game-winner was the first career goal for Garcia-Lopez.

Reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Week Josh McNeely continued his strong run of play, making four saves on the way to his eighth win of the season.

The Gauchos will play just one match next week, as they travel to UC Davis to take on the Aggies on Saturday afternoon.