With 470 fans in attendance at Papé Field, University of Portland Pilots (2-1-2) and the Oregon Ducks (3-1-3) women’s soccer teams continued their nearly 20 year long in-state rivalry that — until last season — has been completely in Portland’s favor.
Last season is the only time in the 18-year rivalry that the Ducks overcame Portland, beating them 2-1. Maybe Portland was reflecting on that loss before Friday’s game because the Pilots unleashed tough tripping, shoves and a flop that led to an overtime game.
After ending the game on a tie, the Ducks had a nine-day break before their next game against Buffalo Sept. 22. Ducks Coach Kat Mertz says the team is going to regroup and allow its roster to rest and recover — like goal-making leader Jordan Wormdahl who played in the first 26 minutes of Friday’s game.
“We need to get healthy and we need to use this time to get players who are banged up fresh,” she says.
Aside from Portland’s heated on-field performance, they did keep Oregon’s offense at bay with a solid defense that forced the Ducks to take impatient shots rather than letting plays develop into scoring opportunities.
While Portland’s game was much more oriented toward measured passes and possessions, the Ducks aggressively tried to penetrate Portland’s defense. However, Portland often denied these plays through close guarding the Duck’s forwards.
Oregon’s aggressive playmaking did yield more shots than Portland, recording 14 and eight shots respectively.
The Ducks were able to grab an early lead from a cross, which Oregon’s Ally Cook says the team has been working on. In the 17th minute, Sakura Yoshida passed the ball to Cook, who chipped a bouncing ball passed Portland’s keeper.
Portland responded within the next 10 minutes with an answer when MJ Roe crossed the ball into the box, connecting with Kimberly Hazlett for a goal.
In the 42nd minute, Oregon’s Eden Hardy recorded her first season goal, and gave Oregon a 2-1 lead. Hardy found the net after Emma Eddy took the ball, fought off two Portland defenders and delivered a short pass to her.
A 70-minute flop is where the Pilots were able to tie the game. As Croix Soto and a Portland player chased the ball destined for out of bounds on Oregon’s goal line, Soto extended her leg to get control the ball. The Portland player fell, which the referee saw as a trip by Soto.
The foul allowed Portland to take a free kick from outside the Ducks’ box. Oregon’s keeper Katelyn Carter kept out the first shot but couldn’t get control of the ball, allowing Portland’s Emily Collier to kick in the rebound, scoring the game tying goal.
Mertz tells Eugene Weekly in a post-game interview that that’s how soccer is: Everyone lives and dies by the judgement of the referee.
That Portland flop didn’t get in the Ducks’ heads, she adds. But after the free kick from outside Oregon’s box, the Ducks gave up some scoring chances.
The Ducks were still able to rally some opportunities but fell short of capitalizing, as were Portland.
The game’s biggest lost opportunity in the final minutes of regulation was when Eddy was unable to chip a shot over a diving Portland keeper. What looked like frustration over the missed opportunity, Eddy stayed on the ground as the play moved on.
Throughout the game, some of the 400-plus crowd yelled out at Portland’s fouls that went uncalled by the referee although during extra time Portland’s Hazlett did receive a yellow card.
Mertz says she doesn’t think the game was that dirty because college soccer can be a physical game.
Portland did ignore a common sportsmanship rule after the Ducks kicked the ball out of bounds, stopping play to deal with an injury on the field. Portland, who got the ball when play resumed, didn’t pass the ball back to Oregon, violating an unwritten soccer courtesy rule.
Friday’s tie follows Oregon’s two road games last week during which they tied against Clemson on Sept. 6 and defeated Furman 3-2 on Sept. 8.
Oregon’s first Pac-12 game will be Sept. 27 at University of Washington.
The Ducks play Buffalo 5 pm Sunday, Sept. 22, at Papé Field.