MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team suffered a 2-1 loss at No. 13 Portland on Monday night at Merlo Field at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex in Portland, Oregon.
The Mountaineers (2-4-1) scored first but the Pilots (4-0-3) responded with back-to-back goals to claim the victory. Down a goal, WVU possessed the ball for much of the entire second half but couldn’t find a second tally.
After traveling nearly 2,700 miles for the nonconference matchup, it took only until the fourth minute for West Virginia to find the back of the net against the Pilots. After fifth-year senior defender Elijah Borneo sent a ball into the center of the box, junior midfielder Ryan Crooks flicked a pass over to senior midfielder Luke McCormick for the quick goal.
It marked the Derby, England, native’s second goal of the season.
Then, Portland pounced on a failed clearance by the Mountaineers to tie the match in the 22nd minute, before it took the lead on a goal off a set piece in the 43rd.
UP led, 2-1, at halftime.
In the second half, the Mountaineers continuously pressured the Pilots in the final third. Crooks hit the crossbar in the 59th minute and had a shot saved in the 62nd. After that, redshirt senior midfielder/defender Dyon Dromers and sophomore midfielder Otto Ollikainen each fired shots that went just off target.
In all, West Virginia outshot Portland, 14-13, including 9-3 in the second half. WVU also held a 3-2 advantage in shots on goal, while the Pilots had seven corner kicks to the Mountaineers’ six.
Crooks led WVU with five shots on the night, while three others also tallied multiple attempts. With his first-half assist, the Oxfordshire, England, native has now been involved in six of WVU’s nine goals this season (2G, 4A).
Monday marked the first-ever meeting between WVU and Portland. It also was West Virginia’s first match in the state of Oregon and just fifth in the Pacific Time Zone in program history.
Up next, WVU continues its three-match road trip on Saturday, Sept. 24, at No. 7 Marshall. Kickoff of the Mountain State Derby at Hoops Family Field in Huntington is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.