Pacific men's soccer put on a show at Knoles Field on Saturday night against the #12 Portland Pilots thanks to an outstanding performance from Jonathan Jimenez who netted three goals in three minutes and 12 seconds to help the Tigers to a 3-2 win on senior night.
Jimenez, who didn't start the second half after picking up a yellow card in the first, came back on in the 58th minute and made the crowd at Knoles Field erupt with the first hat trick of his career.
"Three minutes? Jeez. That's a goal a minute. That's some FIFA stuff." Jimenez said with a laugh after the game. "After the first, I just cleared my head and focused on having a short-term memory to forget about it and focus on the next one."
Jimenez's hat trick helped the Tigers claw back from a 1-0 deficit and gave the team enough insurance to hold on to defeat the Pilots who clawed back another goal in the 77th minute. The Tiger defense stood up to an intense attack from Portland for the remainder of the game to hold on to pick up their second win at home against a ranked team this year.
"Obviously, we're really proud of the performance. In the first half, we were very, very good and probably unfortunate to not to have scored on a couple of occasions. At one point, we were leading 10 to 1 in shots and had a really good half, but didn't break through," head coach Ryan Jorden said. "When we did in the second half, that was super important and I think we showed the dynamic quality that we have going forward. Portland is a very good team, so that makes this result even bigger."
Pacific could have taken a lead into the half thanks to a couple of attempts from senior Camden Riley that nearly found the mark. In the 21stminute, Riley got the ball in the Tiger's defensive end and looked up to see that the Pilot's keeper was off his line. He cracked a shot that was inches from going in, but it hit the post to stay out.
Two minutes later, Riley nearly scored again when he got on the end of a cross from fellow senior Johnatan Rico-Contreres and headed it towards goal, but wide.
MSOC | @PacificMSoccer (4-2-0 WCC, 12pts) get a three-minute hat trick from Jonathan Jimenez and stay in the WCC title hunt after its 3-2 upset of No. 11 Portland (3-2-1 WCC, 10pts) https://t.co/pq9iPc34dU— West Coast Conference (@WCCsports) November 4, 2018
Portland opened the scoring in the 63rd minute when Jake Arteaga scored off of a well-taken corner kick from the Pilots. R.J. Stretch and Esteban Calvo both earned assists on the goal.
The Tigers equalized quickly in the 64th and then pulled away in the 65th and 66th minutes when Jimenez scored back-to-back-to-back goals. Riley assisted on two of them and Jose Angel Reyes picked up a helper on the first as well. Senior Anthony Orendain set up the third and final goal to Jimenez.
MSOC: Final from Stockton. Pilots unable to complete the comeback after an astonishing 3 minute hat trick. They will play their final game of the season against undefeated Saint Mary's in one week. #GoPilots pic.twitter.com/h1cmDzTat9— Portland Pilots (@PortlandPilots) November 4, 2018
With the win, Pacific climbed into a tie for second with San Francisco, who also picked up a win on Saturday night. League leaders, Saint Mary's who were idle on Saturday and face Gonzaga on Sunday, remain in first with a one-point advantage. With a win tomorrow, the Gaels will clinch the WCC title, however, a loss allows Pacific, Portland and San Francisco all back in with a chance to win the outright title.
Pacific closes the regular season next weekend with a road match at Gonzaga on Saturday.
- Jimenez set single-records in the modern era for Pacific with three goals in a game and six points in a game. The record holder for both categories was Tristan Blackmon, who was drafted third overall in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
- Jimenez's three goals brings his total to eight on the year, which ties him with Riley for the team-lead.
- Riley's two assists moved his total to five on the season.
- This is the second time this season that the Tigers have defeated a ranked team at Knoles Field. Pacific beat California when they were No. 14 in August.