A deflated Washington defense walked towards the center circle as Tsiki Ntsabeleng celebrated a late equalizer for Oregon State in Thursday’s dramatic match between two of the nation’s best teams.
The No. 3 Washington men’s soccer team fell short of the Pac-12 title, drawing 2-2 against No. 1 Oregon State after a wild four-goal second half.
Following a quiet opening period that lacked clear goal-scoring opportunities, the match sparked to life just 17 seconds after the restart.
OSU midfielder Mouhameth Thiam curled in a spectacular effort, leaving UW stunned and trailing 1-0. Thiam saw Sam Fowler off his line, placing his shot into the right hand side of the goal from distance.
Although the Beavers (12-2-3, 7-1-2 Pac-12) dealt the first blow, the Huskies (14-1-2, 6-1-2 Pac-12) responded well, stepping up their pressure and finding holes in the OSU defense. For large periods in the second half, Washington found success on offense, creating 10 shots. In contrast, the Huskies only mustered a single effort on goal in the first half.
The Huskies leveled the match at 1-1 in the 60th minute through center back Ryan Sailor, whose towering header converted junior Charlie Ostrem’s cross.
Corners have been a strong point for the Huskies this season with Sailor often capitalizing on his opportunities. The redshirt senior tallied his sixth and seventh goals of the campaign on Thursday night, making him the team’s leading scorer.
The second half was filled with chances for both sides as OSU racked up 11 shots, keeping Fowler busy in the UW net. Fowler would come up big for the Huskies, making a crucial one-on-one stop, denying Tyrone Mondi just moments before UW took the lead.
In what was an end-to-end second half, Washington marched down the field and earned a corner in the 85th minute. Ostrem would provide another inviting delivery that was turned in by Sailor for his second goal of the match after being teed up by forward Gio Miglietti.
Just when the Huskies had thought they’d won it, Ntsabeleng fired in a low shot beyond Fowler to kill Washington’s Pac-12 title hopes in the dying moments of regulation. An influential figure throughout the match, the forward from South Africa troubled the UW defense with his elusive dribbling.
Thursday’s match lived up to the billing, providing box office entertainment in the second half. After a thrilling 3-2 game in Seattle earlier this season, Oregon State and Washington showed their quality in another tightly contested heavyweight matchup. The match ended with the Beavers outshooting the Huskies 16-13.
Despite a disappointing end to the Pac-12 season, the Huskies have a chance to bounce back in the national tournament, which kicks off on Friday, Nov. 19.
Reach senior staff reporter Luka Kučan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @luka_kucan
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