QUEENS, N.Y. – In its final non-conference road match of the season, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team could not overcome an early two-goal deficit and fell 2-1 to St. John's at Belson Stadium on Tuesday evening.
With the loss, the Gauchos (0-4-2) are now winless through its first six matches of the year.
Despite an early offensive surge from UCSB, with three shots in the first five minutes of action, the Red Storm seized control of the half and took advantage of a Gaucho miscue for the first goal of the game in the 31st minute.
After UCSB played the ball back to keeper Alan Carrillo, two Red Storm players swarmed the ball, taking over possession inside the six-yard box. Alistair Johnston and Jack Shearer passed it back-and-forth before Johnston was wide open in front of the goal to tap it in.
As soon as the second half began, Johnston was at it again with his second goal after he spun around his defender in the box and fired a shot to the bottom right corner to put St. John's ahead 2-0.
Facing a two-goal deficit for the third straight game, UCSB ramped up its offensive attack and broke through to cut the lead in half in the 53rd minute. Kavian Kashani raced down the right side of the pitch and crossed the ball into Rodney Michael, who headed the ball up and over the keeper to mark his second straight game with a goal.
In the 68th minute, the Gauchos thought they had the equalizer off a corner when Michael tapped the ball in front of the goal and Jan Ilskens got his foot on it to place it in the back of the net, but was called offside.
UCSB outshot the Red Storm and created a handful of chances down the stretch but were unable to get past a tough defensive unit that featured the reigning Big East Goalkeeper of the Week.
Both teams finished with eight shots apiece while St. John's held a 5-4 edge on corner kicks. Michael led the Gauchos with four shots, three of which were on goal.
The schedule will not get any easier for the Gauchos as they are set to take on undefeated No. 14 Pacific (6-0) this Friday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Harder Stadium.
Season tickets and individual game tickets are available online here or call the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB (8272).