The USC women’s soccer team has struggled for consistency in 2011, and Sunday might have been the team’s most uneven and frustrating defeat yet.
The visiting Women of Troy fell 2-1 to Portland, losing their third straight and falling to 3-6 on the season.
“Disheartening,” said USC coach Ali Khosroshahin. “That’s really all I can describe it as.”
USC fell behind early when the Pilots’ Ellen Parker scored just three minutes into the match to give Portland a 1-0 lead.
“We can’t be giving goals away three minutes into the first half,” Khosroshahin said. “That’s been the theme all year long. It totally changed the game. With a team like us, that’s struggling to finish, and you let teams get ahead, it’s a tall order to overcome.”
The Women of Troy fought back and tied the game in the 29th minute, when senior Ashley Freyer collected a loose ball in front of the Pilots’ net and booted it in the back of the net for the equalizer.
“We did create opportunities to get back into it,” Khosroshahin said. “We just weren’t able to push it all the way. We hit the post a couple times. We need to see if the ball is going to start bouncing our way.”
It was the last score of the afternoon for USC, who had plenty of opportunities to take the lead. Senior Ashli Sandoval had three chances of her own, but all three failed to evade Portland goalkeeper Hailee DeYoung.
“It’s frustrating because we are playing well,” said junior forward Kristina Noriega. “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing but figure out how to get results out of it. It’s definitely a feeling of frustration.”
Portland, however, capitalized on the USC defense to begin the second half of play when Amanda Frisbie scored in the 49th minute with what proved to be the winning goal for the Pilots.
Senior Brittany Kerridge had USC’s best chance to tie the game in the final minute, but missed a free kick from 30 yards out. Junior Kristina Noriega’s desperation attempt in the closing seconds also missed the mark, and USC suffered its sixth defeat on the season.
“I just feel like we let this one get away,” Freyer said. “We were trying to start fresh after we let two get away at home. We’ve definitely been getting the opportunities to stay in games. We just haven’t been finishing them.”
Though not excusing his team’s loss, Khosroshahin did note that he feels the team has been unlucky at certain points during the season.
“We’re going to keep kicking it but at some point something’s got to go our way,” he said. “So far this year we haven’t gotten the bounces. I hope it starts to happen soon.”
The Women of Troy return home next weekend to begin the Pac-12 schedule when they take on Washington State at 1 p.m. at McAlister Field.