With just second lefts before the final whistle of Friday night’s game against Lewis and Clark College, Henry Fassinger thought he had a hat trick. The Oregon men’s club soccer outside midfielder struck a well-placed corner kick from the top of the 18-yard box, only to watch Lewis and Clark’s keeper make an outstanding diving save to deny him of his third goal of the game.
“I just watched it right to my foot,” Fassinger said. “It felt so good coming off it. I thought I had it right when I kicked it but the goalie made a really good save.
Instead, Fassinger settled for a pair of goals and a 6-2 win over the Pioneers.
The Ducks grabbed an early lead in the 10th minute. Forward Ian Maloney received a pass at the top of the 18-yard box and drilled his shot past the keeper and into the bottom left corner to give Oregon a 1-0 lead.
Oregon got away with a few defensive miscues immediately after Maloney’s goal, most notably a pass back to keeper Mak Lindquist that was subsequently turned over to a Lewis and Clark attacker.
However, Oregon settled down and began to gain the upper hand in the middle of the field. A series of passes in the 30th minute culminated with Fassinger’s first goal of the game.
“We were working on going to the middle and then sending it out wide because their center backs were pressing pretty high up,” Fassinger said. “We got a nice ball on the right side and then in the middle from the wing. It kind of floated across towards me and I just left-footed it in the back post.”
With Lewis and Clark’s defensive line pressing up, the Ducks caught them off guard on a counter-attack in the 42nd minute. Gregg Anderson slotted a through ball to Daley Stevens from just inside midfield, and the former Oregon player-coach dribbled past the final defender on the last side before burying a shot into the back of the net.
Oregon cruised into halftime with a 3-0 lead, but the Pilots cut into the lead early in the second half and had the Ducks on their heels.
In the 56th minute, an Oregon defender was called for a foul in the box. This led to a penalty kick and the Ducks being forced to play a man down, as head coach and center back Alex Riley was issued a red card after arguing against the call on the field. Lewis and Clark’s Mohammed Alnahari put away the penatly kick to make it 3-1.
Ten minutes later, the Lewis and Clark forward tallied his second goal of the game. A Lewis and Clark goal kick was flicked at midfield over the Oregon defense and Alnahari ran onto the ball. With just the keeper to beat, Alnahari volleyed a shot over Lindquist to cut Oregon’s lead to one goal.
However, a defensive blunder by the Pioneers ultimately swung the momentum back in Oregon’s favor. In the 70th minute, a ball cleared out by Oregon took several big bounces in Lewis and Clark’s territory and was fielded just outside the 18-yard box at the feet of their keeper. He dribbled the ball back into the box but Oregon’s Yutaro Tahara stole the ball from him before he could pick it up, resulting in Oregon’s fourth goal of the game.
Maloney added his second goal of the game minutes later on a free kick from 25 yards out. Fassinger capped off Oregon’s scoring in the 84th minute with his second goal of the game.
“The biggest thing was that when we went down a guy, we started to bring our center forward back a little bit, or had him play more in the middle,” Stevens said “We made him the pinpoint of the offense. We just funneled everything through there. It was me at times, it was Henry Fassinger at times and it was also Gregg (Anderson). We said everything goes through them, we work off of it and then we play every ball wide off of that.”
The Oregon men’s club team travels to the University of Portland on Saturday to play at 4:00 p.m. You can find more information about the club team on their Facebook page.
Follow Chris Mosch on Twitter @chris_mosch