PORTLAND – After a hard fought 90-minute season opener, Air Force came up short against Portland, 2-0, Friday night at Clive Charles Soccer Complex.
Despite the scoring differential, the Falcons were sturdy in both offense and defense, outshooting the Pilots, 17-8, with seven shots on frame to Portland’s three. Defensively, team captains Giuliano Daniel and Jared Dove, alongside preseason All-WAC defender London Aghedo, clocked 90 minutes on the pitch, denying a talented Pilots squad an easy day.
Air Force applied pressure early on, putting three balls on target from deep inside the box in the opening eight minutes, but it was Portland who found the back of the net with a worm-burner just inside the left post and just outside of Kainoa Likewise’s diving reach.
The teams settled in through the remainder of the half, holding each other scoreless until the halftime horn with the Falcons outshooting the Pilots, 6-4, in the first 45.
The second strike of the match was made by the Pilots’ Buba Fofanah in the 60th minute via Kevin Bonilla’s assist.
Undeterred by the deficit, the Falcons pushed the pace and controlled the possessions, outshooting Portland 11-4 in the second half. Portland’s 2021 MAC Hermann watch list goalie, George Tasouris, was up to task in denying Air Force shots on goal. Tasouris recorded seven saves on the night for the shutout. Air Force’s Likewise was credited with one save against eight shots faced.
“I was proud of the way the guys played tonight,” head coach Doug Hill said. “We had enough chances to put the game away but we were not very lucky in the finishes. Their keeper came up big with some saves. We need to turn it around for Monday’s match and be able to find the back of the net.”
Next up, the Falcons travel to Corvallis, Oregon, to take on the 16th-ranked Oregon State Beavers, Monday, August 30, at 7 p.m. PT. The Air Force and Oregon State both played in last year’s NCAA tournament.