MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With just three seconds left in the game, sophomore Marcus Caldeira found the back of the net to give the No. 16 West Virginia men’s soccer team a 1-0 victory over No. 3 Portland on Saturday at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The Mountaineers stay undefeated at 5-0 while the Pilots suffer their first defeat and fall to 3-1.
It is the first time since 1975 that West Virginia has started a season with five consecutive victories.
“A great game against a great team,” said head coach Dan Stratford. “Sometimes you need a moment like that at the end and we are obviously grateful we had it. What it will do to the guys and their mentality moving forward is going to be huge.”
It is the first ranked win for the Mountaineers since beating second-ranked Tulsa in the third round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. It is also the sixth top-three win for WVU since 2006.
Caldeira is the NCAA leader with six goals, surpassing his total from a season ago. He has also scored in all five games this year.
The winning moment started with just 20 seconds remaining as senior Jackson Lee sent a goal kick down the field to Luke McCormick, who dribbled it down the right side. He sent a ball into the box for senior Yutaro Tsukada, who headed a shot off the cross bar. The ball stayed in play and bounced to the foot of Caldeira, who buried it into the back of the net, sending the players, coaches, and fans into a frenzy.
In the most even game of the year for both squads, Portland outshot WVU, 10-9 while the Mountaineers held a 4-1 edge in shots on goal. West Virginia also took four corners compared to three for the Pilots while fouls were also close with WVU committing 11 to Portland’s 10.
Lee picks up his fourth shutout of the season, this being his most impressive as the Pilots came into the game as the nation’s top offense, averaging 4.33 goals per game.
Portland had the first chance of the game in the 19th minute as Jacob Babalai’s shot went off the post and into the hands of Lee.
In the 26th minute, the Mountaineers had their first golden opportunity as Caldeira got past the defense but could not get his shot around Portland keeper Miguel-Angel Hernandez.
In the 66th minute, Tsukada took a chance from distance, but once again, Hernandez was there to knock it over the bar.
Portland had its most dangerous opportunity of the second half in the 80th minute as they had two shots blocked in the box by the WVU defense before being cleared away.
The Mountaineers will head to No. 6 UCF on Friday to open Sun Belt play. Kickoff from Orlando is set for 7 p.m.