West Virginia men’s soccer advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, as they beat Louisville 1-0 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
After a flurry of chances, West Virginia finally broke through in the 72nd minute, as Yutaro Tsukada dribbled to the middle of the 18-yard box, firing a shot from left to right and burying it in the bottom right corner of the net, as that would be the deciding factor for the Mountaineers.
“Midway through the second half I think we started to show the territorial dominance a little bit more,” West Virginia head coach Dan Stratford said. “Just really, really, pleased that we got that one under our belt now.”
West Virginia was sticking to Stratford’s plan of being in control of the game around the 60-minute mark. From the 65th minute until the time of Tsukada’s goal, the Mountaineer recorded six shots, and had a pair of corner kicks.
“The game started to favor us a little bit more. I thought we started well, I thought early on in the game was a similar kind of picture,” Stratford said. “Yutaro comes through with a special moment as he’s capable of doing and that was enough to secure the win.”
The first half ended scoreless between both teams, but it was not without multiple chances. Louisville had two prime opportunities to reach the back of the net in the first half. The second came in the 25th minute off the foot of Parker Forbes.
Forbes looked at a wide-open net after WVU goalkeeper Jackson lee was drawn out by the play. It would be Carlos Hernando who made the save, putting himself in the middle of the net and being the different to keep the game scoreless.
“I think I was still a little that we had put ourselves in that predicament,” Stratford said of the play from Hernando.
West Virginia controlled the game in the second half, outshooting Louisville 17-7 on the evening, however shots on goal were even at 4-4.
West Virginia will move on to face the winner of No. 12 UCF vs Vermont in the third round next weekend. The Mountaineers are also now in position to hold home field advantage through the Elite Eight, as No. 4 Georgetown fell to James Madison, 1-0.
I have to thank everyone that came out today because we had a completely packed stand,” Stratford said. “I think we have to use the result there with JMU and talk to our players about that in terms of the motivation that comes with the idea that you have three home games to lead into the Final Four.”