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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Senior defensive midfielder Sahid Conteh's 25th minute goal secured the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team its second clean sheet in its last three games as the Gauchos defeated the Seattle Redhawks 1-0 at Harder Stadium on Thursday night.
The win improves the Gauchos' record to 4-2-0 on the season, while Seattle drops to 2-3-2.
The Redhawks' defense entered the game having shut out four of its six opponents, including No. 2 Indiana and No. 12 Denver earlier in the season, and having surrendered just 9.5 shots per game.
UCSB didn't fare much better, putting up a season-low eight shots in the match, but the one that created the breakthrough in the match came out of a determined press by Sahid Conteh, putting heavy pressure on Seattle midfielder Hamish Ritchie to make him play an errant pass to his centerback Nkosi Burgess.
Conteh continued chasing the ball and won it off the Redhawk defender to go through onto goal and score with a right-footed low shot past goalkeeper Akili Kasim to put the Gauchos up 1-0.
"It's a team thing because we've been working on it for a while where we've been having the midfield following plays through [to completion]. If a centerback has the ball and passes it back to the goalkeeper, the midfielder [for UCSB] is encouraged to continue the run and pressing. I just saw it and knew he was going to be uncomfortable, so I just anticipated that the moment he's [went to get] the ball I'm just going to go. It's a team press, we've been working on it since the beginning of preseason so it's nothing new."
Sophomore goalkeeper Ben Roach was called upon to make two saves, first stopping a shot from forward Cody Buchanan with a second left to go in the first half to keep the Redhawks scoreless heading into the halftime break.
Then, the Santa Barbara local worked Seattle midfielder Jesse Ortiz's powerful shot over the crossbar as the game entered the 55th minute.
Shortly afterward, Burgess received a straight red card in the 56th minute for his tackle on UCSB senior centerback Faouzi Taieb, who made his return from injury in the match.
The Gauchos would comfortably see the rest of the game out for their fourth win of the season.
"I feel like we had the mentality to win tonight, the confidence and belief, and I think that's going to carry over to Sunday."— UCSB Men's Soccer (@UCSBMensSoccer) September 20, 2019
Words from UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg after tonight's match ➡#GoGauchos pic.twitter.com/I4ykB1mW9B
"The feeling up at Oregon State after that is something that does carry over, and I feel like we had the mentality to win tonight, the confidence and belief, and I think that's going to carry over to Sunday," noted UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg.
Up next, UCSB has a showdown with UMBC on Sunday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at UCSBgauchos.com.