JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – It should be fairly obvious which sport laid claim to the number one moment on our New Year's Countdown – men's soccer – but what moment? There were so many from The Lads run to the national title games. A shootout win over Lander in the Sweet 16, Ross Frame's run for the record books or just the season itself could all be worthy candidates.
However, the singular moment that that achieves the number one spot is Joao Pedro Dowsley's nutmeg goal in the final minute of the Final Four match with Simon Fraser that guaranteed the Eagles a spot in their first ever title game.
The play was improbable for several reasons. One, there's the absolute gem of a clearance from keeper Rumwald Le Guevel to put the ball onto the Eagles' offensive third, two, there's the majestic flick on by Kristian Speake, three, there's Dowsley's actual goal, which itself was improbable.
Dowsley had spent the first half of the season on the bench with an injury and the between-the-legs game winner with 1:11 left on the clock proved to be his first and only goal of the season.
Jovan Blagojevic opened the scoring for Simon Fraser in the 14th minute with a diving header to the far post off a cross sent in by Chris Bargholz to take an opening lead. Blagojevic now has 11 goals on the year.
Five minutes into second half, Ross Frame tied it up with a well placed shot off a pass from Sindre Welo (Trondheim, Norway).
Ten minutes later, Welo sent in a left footed strike past Watson to take a 2-1 for the Eagles. Frame claimed the assist; he has 11 assists and 49 points for the year. Welo holds seven goals and eight assists giving him a total of 22 points.
With 26 minutes remaining, Juan Sanchez put another header into the back of the net to tie the match at two.
Dowsley gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead with just over a minute to go off a ball sent into his feet from Speake. Dowsley went five-hole on both a defender and Watson.
"It's just the greatest moment of my soccer career," Dowsley said. "After injuries the whole season, there's no better place to be than the national championship. When I kicked (the game winner) left-footed, I just put my shirt over my head because I knew the ball was going in."
No. 1 – Dowsley's game-winning goal to send C-N to the title game