DU Striker Andre Shinyashiki/Photo Credit: University of Denver
In sports, the promise of an entire college season can be launched with a single early season victory over a ranked opponent.
And while we don’t yet know how the rest of the season will go for the University of Denver Men’s Soccer Team, if great things do happen to the Pioneers the year, they will likely look back on August 30, 2018 at Pioneer Soccer Stadium as the night they found out that they deserved to be a Top 10 soccer team. The Pioneers stormed back from a second-half deficit to shock the #3 ranked University of Washington Huskies, 3-2 in double overtime on a dramatic, walk-off golden goal from Brazilian senior striker Andre Shinyashiki.
The game had the feeling of a heavyweight fight. The Huskies came in to Denver with big swagger, riding a pair of 2-0 shutout wins over Maryland and New Mexico to start their season, and the Huskies’ upperclassmen had extra incentive to avenge the Pioneers for the last time UW was in Denver, when DU ended Washington’s 2016 season in the NCAA tournament.
But it was the Pioneers who came out swinging harder, dominating the Huskies early, and going up 1-0 on a UW own goal in the eighth minute. The Huskies then counterpunched DU by taking over the middle of the game, snatching a 2-1 lead over DU with a pair of quality goals just after halftime.
The Pioneers knew that they had to answer the Huskies, but the clock in regulation was winding down. With just about 10 minutes remaining, DU senior forward Moshe Perez seized his opportunity. Marked by a Husky defender at the top of the UW box, the smooth Israeli playmaker turned his back on his opponent to settle the ball, then wheeled 180 degrees and fired a curling shot into the far corner of the Huskies net to tie the game, 2-2, and sent the game to extra time with DU having the momentum. Perez had also staked the Pioneers to the first goal of the game when his early free kick bounced off a UW defender for the UW own-goal.
UW countered in first overtime with a couple of chances to win the game, but one header went over the DU bar, and Kyle Coffee’s UW tap-in attempt was foiled by DU’s sliding defender Jared Jungjohann.
That set the stage for DU’s heroic game winner in the 103rd minute, set up by three seniors who knew they had to step up and seize the moment. Perez, a redshirt senior transfer from Colorado Mesa, started the winning play by flcking an outside foot thru-ball down the left flank for fellow senior winger Kenny Akamatsu, who was speeding toward the UW goal. The Niigata, Japan native took Perez’s pass in stride then quickly cut a back-pass for Shinyashiki, who had been running to the top of the left corner of the UW box. Shinyashiki made no mistake, one-timing Akamatsu’s back pass into the far lower corner of the Husky net for the 3-2 “Golden Goal” victory, his third extra time winner as a Pioneer.
With that goal, Shinyashiki, the reigning national player of the week for his natural hat trick in the first 25 minutes of DU’s 4-0 drubbing of Monmouth in the season opener, became DU’s all-time Division I points leader. The goal also helped the Sao Paulo Brazil native to break DU’s Division I career game wining goals record, and to tie DU’s all time Division I goals record.
DU will next face Southern Methodist University in Dallas next Monday, when the Pioneers will be seeking some revenge for SMU knocking DU out of the 2015 NCAA tournament.