Opoku’s golden goal completes UVA comeback win over Portland
No stranger to overtime this season, No. 10 Virginia (7-1-2) prevailed 2-1 against Portland (5-5) on Edward Opoku’s golden goal in the 96th minute. It marked the sixth contest this season the Cavaliers have pushed to extra time.
Recipient of a long, Robin Afamefuna (Wuerselen, Germany) pass from the far side, Opoku one touched a point-blank shot past the Portland goalkeeper for the game-winning score. The junior forward matched a career-high with his sixth goal of the season and leads all active Cavaliers with 14 career markers.
“This is a resilient group, Portland is a good team but I think in the end we played well enough to win,” said head coach George Gelnovatch. “I think our offense started kicking into gear towards the end of the first half and after we got the first goal I was confident that we could win the game.”
Virginia trailed 1-0 after the first 45 minutes of play, only the second time this season its gone into the locker room down a goal. The second half yielded 14 Cavalier shots, with four going on net. Virginia started the second half by attempting the first 12 shots before Portland was able to create a chance of its own.
Senior Pablo Aguilar (Guatemala City, Guatemala) provided the game-tying goal in the 73rd minute when he won a battle for the ball in the center of the box. He was able to corral the loose ball and bury his fourth goal of the year into the back of the net. Aguilar has now scored in back-to-back contests for Virginia and is tied for the second most goals on the team.
Portland was able to get out to a 1-0 lead on a perfectly executed set piece in the 12th minute. Matthew Coffey was the benefactor of two sharp passes off the feet of Billy Garton and Rey Ortiz. The shot would end up being the only chance on goal for the Pilots for the entire contest.
Virginia outshot Portland 23-9 and drew 10 corner kicks compared to just two by the Pilots. The physical contest yielded 29 fouls between the two teams including seven yellow cards.
Up Next: Virginia will get back to Atlantic Coast Conference play on Friday (Oct. 6) when it hosts Boston College at Klöckner Stadium. The middle game of a three-game home stand will be aired live on ACC Network Extra.
-UVA is 4-0 all-time against Portland in an all-time series that began in 2009.
-In the last meeting between the two teams on Oct. 5, 2015, the Cavaliers scored the game-winning goal with 50 seconds remaining in regulation.
-Virginia improved its overtime record to 3-1-2 on the season.
-The Cavaliers remain unblemished against non-conference opponents in 2017 (6-0).
-A non-conference opponent has not won at Klöckner Stadium since 2015, a span of 15 games.
– The only other time this season Virginia has trailed at half was against Syracuse (1-0) on Sept. 8. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.
-Caldwell made his 50th start in goal of his career, tied for the sixth most in program history.
-The assist for Afamefuna was his first point of the season, he is the 12th different Cavalier to contribute to a goal this season.