AKRON, Ohio - University of Akron senior Diogo Pacheco (Lisbon, Portugal) scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 76th minute (75:29) to send an electric FirstEnergy Stadium crowd home happy as the 19th-rated Zips (4-0-0) garnered a 2-1 men's soccer victory over No. 3 Pitt (2-2-0) on Monday, Sept. 6.
The victory marked the highest-rated team Akron has triumphed past at FirstEnergy Stadium since Adam Najem sent the Zips to the 2015 College Cup with a picturesque double-overtime goal off a free kick versus No. 3 Creighton in the Elite Eight of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
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The game-winning tally came courtesy of a pair of strong passes for assists from sophomore Will Jackson (Hudson, Ohio) and freshman Ryan Kingsford (Herne Bay, England). By virtue of the goal, Pacheco extended his streak of scoring at least one point to five consecutive games dating back to last season.
Fueled by a 10-3 advantage in second-half shots, the Panthers edged the Zips on the night in overall shots, 15-12, including registering a 7-5 margin in shots on goal.
Akron benefited from a team-best three strikes apiece from Pacheco and freshmen Dyson Clapier (Layton, Utah) and Jason Shokalook (Erie, Pa.), while Pitt was directed by a game-high four shots from Valentin Noel.
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Senior goalkeeper Will Meyer (Solon, Ohio) was stellar in net for the Zips making a season-high six saves, including several of the acrobatic variety. Nico Campuzano collected three stops for the Panthers.
In a tightly contested opening half, Akron opened the scoring when Clapier headed home his second goal of the season at the 11:29 mark to give the Zips an early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Johnny Fitzgerald (Tallahassee, Fla.) played in a ball from beyond the 18-yard box to the corner to a streaking freshman Malik Henry (Hamilton, Ontario), who served a ball into the six-yard box where Clapier connected for the tally.
Fueled by a 9-5 margin in shots in the opening stanza, Akron entered the intermission holding onto a 1-0 advantage.
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The Panthers continued to attack the Zips to begin the second half and Pitt was rewarded in the 59th minute (58:21) when Raphael Crivello headed home his first goal of the year courtesy of an assist from Filip Mirkovic to level the score at one.
Each side had scoring opportunities over the next nearly 20 minutes before Pacheco struck gold with the game-winner at the 75:29 mark.
The Zips then locked down defensively over the final 15 minutes to secure the victory.