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Aztecs Beat USD 2-1 in Dramatic Fashion

Oct 15, 2021

SAN DIEGO – The Aztec men's soccer team (7-3-2) won a thriller at the University of San Diego (1-11-0) 2-1 Friday evening at Torero Stadium after scoring off a free kick with four seconds remaining.

The Toreros tied the match up at 1-1 in the 88th minute after SDSU had been winning for 82 minutes, but then USD committed a costly foul with seven seconds remaining to set up an Aztec free kick from 30 yards out. Iñigo Villaldea sent the ball into the far side of the box, and Rik Regeling, who was making his first career start, got a head on it to send it across the box to Blake Bowen who tapped it in with his right foot.

"I ran to the near post and Rik [Regeling] headed it back across and made it an easy tap in for the win," Bowen said after the match. "It feels good to get another [game-winner]."

This was the second time that Bowen and the Aztecs scored a game-winning goal off a free kick in the final five seconds of a match. Bowen scored the game-winner with one second left against UC Davis on Sept. 10.

"Wow, what a finish again," head coach Ryan Hopkins said after the match. "The guys keep continuing to find ways to win games and that's the mark of a resilient team. They never lost belief in each other, and I couldn't be prouder of them. They set a team goal to go undefeated in non-conference play and to accomplish that in such a dramatic finish is even more rewarding."

The Toreros outshot SDSU 9-6 and 5-3 in shots on goal, but the Aztecs led until the final three minutes. SDSU scored in the 6th minute after some nifty passing. Iñigo Villaldea found Alex Hjælmof in the middle of the field who one-touched a pass to Andre Ochoa who scored inside the far post with his left foot. Ochoa, the Aztec captain, has a team-high five goals.

The Toreros' 88th minute goal came after a cross hit an Aztec defender then bounced off the crossbar to Ross Johnstone who finished the goal.

Goalkeeper Jacob Castro (7-3-2) collected four saves. He has allowed one goal or less in 11 of his 12 matches this season.

This is the second time this season SDSU has scored the game-winning goal off a free kick in the final five seconds.

The Aztecs went undefeated in non-conference play (5-0-2).

SDSU improves to 15-7-2 all-time against the Toreros.

The Aztecs return to Pac-12 play Thursday when they play at Stanford at 8 p.m. SDSU beat Stanford 1-0 in extra time earlier this year.