Kengo Ohira Extra Time Goal Sends DU to Second Round

The Summit League Tournament champs, Denver (13-2-5, 6-0-2)  faced the WCC champions San Diego Toreros (8-4-6, 6-0-1) in first-round NCAA Tournament action Thursday afternoon.  It was snowy, cold and, it took extra time for a 1-0 DU win. After 110 minutes of play, and a perilous last five minutes, Denver emerged victorious.

San Diego took early control of the game, owning possession on the icy field but Denver gradually evened up possession. 17 minutes into the match, the Toreros got behind the DU back line on a breakaway. A hard shot by USD’s Nicklas Clausen caromed off the frame as Denver avoided an early hole. 15 minutes later, DU lost an opportunity to score when they broke San Diego’s back line but Kengo Ohira was stoned by the San Diego keeper Jason Dubrovich who stopped the shot with a kick save. San Diego outshot DU in the half 7(2)-4(3).

The second half was even until USD’s Gourdie Rhys got a red card for dangerous play in the 57th minute. The shorthanded Toreros were on their back foot the rest of the half but they shut down the wings, clogged the middle, and the Pioneers could not find space to feed through balls to their forwards. DU took three shots, none on cage, and the Toreros could never muster a shot during second fourty-five minutes. The half ended 0-0  and two ten-minute overtime periods were played – a new NCAA Tournament rule this season, replacing the ‘golden goal.’

Three minutes into the first overtime period, Kengo Ohira received a lose ball in the box from Griffin Meyer and delivered the game-winner into the back of the net.

The final ten minutes were tense as the Toreros pulled forward and Denver played back on defense. USD earned three corner kicks and four shots but all were stopped by DU’s defense and DU’s outstanding keeper Isaac Nehme to end the match.

Next up for the Pios on their march to the College Cup is a round two matchup in Raleigh-Durham to face 4th-seeded Duke (11-1-4, 5-0-3 ACC) on Sunday, November 20th at Koskinen Stadium.

3 thoughts on “Kengo Ohira Extra Time Goal Sends DU to Second Round”

  1. Congrats to DU for the gritty win. Certainly assisted by playing a man up for a while. Playing Duke in the second round is not ideal. Our Pios are not expected to win, but I think they are more than capable of pulling an upset with their stout defense. GOOD LUCK, DENVER, GET IT DONE!!!

  2. A few observations:

    – The red card on USD’s Gourdie Rhys totally changed the complexion of the game. When you watch the video, it is clear that that Rhys fouled, but the extent of the foul was not red-card worthy. USD was screwed by the ref’s call– it should have been a yellow at most, and I say that as a die-hard Pioneer fan. Once Rhys, (one of USD’s best players) get red-carded out of the game with about 35 minutes left in regulation, USD had to pull back on the attack with only 10 players on the field.

    -Once the red card happened, USD basically ceded possession to the Pios, who then did very little but knock the ball around the midfield for the final 35 minutes of regulation. True the field conditions sucked and advancing in the NCAAs was on the line, but I believe DU should have gone forward more in regulation time to try to win it then. It is amazing to me than in an NCAA tourney game, the red card was even called…It seems to me that kicking a player out of an NCAA tourney game for a non-egregious reason is just awful.

    -While it was great to see the Pios advance and Ohira was money for being in the right place in the right time to slot in the OT goal, but honestly, I really felt quite bad for USD. The Torreros came into Denver in the snow, created more chances than DU (hit the crossbar and had another point-blank shot blocked on the DU goaline, etc), had a key player tossed for a dubious red-card foul and played with 10 men – all heart and guts, still putting a lot of pressure on the Pioneers. Granted the Pios played with heart and guts, too, but the Torrero seniors will take the loss to their graves, knowing they were screwed in the biggest game of their lives. If they Pios had been screwed that way, we’d all be screaming bloody murder.

    So, the Pios will go to Duke. The Blue Devils have only lost once all year, and had only let in 7 goals all season against a tough ACC schedule. The Pios had only given up 12 goals all year. With Duke at home, I expect the Blue Devils to be the team with greater possession, and risk-taking. DU will probably play tight D and hope they maximize what chances they can generate. This looks like a 1-0 game either way…

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