DURHAM, N.C. — No. 22 SMU improved to a perfect 6-0-0 on the season on Monday night by beating No. 2 Duke, 2-0.
In the 21st minute, Garrett McLaughlin broke away from the Blue Devils' backline and before he could put a shot on net, he was tackled in the box, earning a penalty kick. McLaughlin took the penalty, but it was saved by Duke's Will Pulisic, leaving the score at 0-0.
One minute later McLaughlin got his revenge when he used his right foot to beat Pulisic and put the Mustangs up 1-0. Assisting McLaughin was Knut Ahlander who celebrated his birthday by registering his fifth assist of the season, the third-most in the country.
The two teams would trade blows for the remainder of the first half with SMU creating more chances but neither team finding a goal before they went to the locker room.
CINDERELLA STORIES: Sleeper men's soccer teams who've gone deep into the tournament
The dagger came in the 61st minute when McLaughlin returned the favor to Ahlander, allowing Ahlander to score the second goal of his SMU career, putting the Mustangs in full control at 2-0. The Blue Devils tried to create more chances as they sent waves of attackers toward the Mustangs' net, but the SMU backline, with 153 combined starts, held firm until the final whistle, securing a 2-0 victory.
"The guys were outstanding tonight. I'm really proud of the effort and performance," Coach Kevin Hudson said. "This is one step in the process and we'll remain humble and wanting more."
The shutout marks Shane Lanson's fourth straight clean sheet in as many starts. SMU has only allowed one goal this season, resulting in a nation-best GAA of .170. Lanson is the only keeper in Division I soccer to have started four or more games and not allow a goal.
The Mustangs outshot the Blue Devils 13-11 but dominated Duke with a 10-4 SOG differential. Monday's win marks the first win over a top-2 team since the Mustangs beat No. 2 Creighton 1-0 on November 21, 1992.
SMU continues its road trip on Saturday night when it travels to Denver, Colo. for a match with the Denver Pioneers slated to start at 6 p.m. CT.