#13 PORTLAND PILOTS (11-4-0, 4-2-0 WCC)
WEEK 12: vs. San Francisco Dons
San Francisco Dons
(8-3-5, 2-2-2 WCC)
Date: Nov. 11, 2023
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: Portland, Ore.
Pitch: Merlo Field
POR vs. USF
Overall Series: 22-24-5
H: 14-8-0 • A: 9-13-5 • N: 1-3-0
Last: POR 1, @USF 0 (2022)
• Portland Pilots Men’s Soccer plays their final regular season match this Saturday, Nov. 11 at Merlo Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
• Check PortlandPilots.com for live video and stat options.
ABOUT THE PILOTS
• The Pilots are 11-4 overall and 4-2 in WCC play after a 3-0 road win over the Saint Mary’s Gaels
• It was the fifth time this season the Pilots have won by three goals or more in a shutout.
• The Pilots saw Samory Powder, Buba Fofanah and Muslim Umar all score. It was Powder’s sixth, Fofanah’s ninth and Umar’s third of the season.
• Portland has now scored 43 goals through 15 games, which is the most they’ve scored through this point since 1995.
• Portland also sits at 51 assists, which is just two shy of the assists record they set last season.
• Babalai sits at 12 goals and four assists on the year, currently leading the WCC in both points (28) and goals. His totals rank 14th and 12th in the nation respectively and both totals are the most for a Pilot through 15 games since 1999.
• The Pilots lead the conference in 10 different categories statistically. Among those categories, they lead the nation in points per game (9.13), rank second in total assists (51) and assists per game (3.40), third in goals per game (2.87), fifth in total points and goal differential (31), sixth in total goals (43) and 13th in shutout percentage (.467).
• Individually, Kevin Bonilla ranks ninth in the country in assists per game (0.60) and 12th in the country in total assists (9). His nine assists through 15 games are the most by a Pilot since 2017.
• The Pilots haven’t lost a home match since 2021. Their unbeaten streak of 27 matches rivals only a stretch between 1987 and 1990 when they also went unbeaten in 27 straight matches.
• Portland’s 11 wins marks the fifth fall season where Carlin-Voigt has earned at least 10 victories and the fourth time he’s reachd at least 11 wins.
• Among other stat leaders, Sebastian Nava and Nick Fernandez are second and third in the WCC and 19th and 28th in the nation in assists at eight and seven respectively. Their assists per game totals of 0.54 and 0.53 also rank second and third in the WCC and 16th and 18th nationally.
• Buba Fofanah’s nine goals rank second in the WCC, and he is the only Pilot this year with at least five goals and five assists. He is second in the WCC with 23 points, and his nine goals are five more than his previous season high.
• Babalai and Fofanah are the first Pilot duo with at least nine goals scored between them since 2001.
• Kash Oladopo is also third in the WCC in goals-against average (.806) and shutouts (6).
• The Pilots are coming off one of the best seasons in program history, having finished 15-3-3 and advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2023 NCAA Tournament
• It’s just the third time in program history the Pilots have advanced this far. The last time they did so, they made the College Cup in 1995.
• Their overall record was also their best since that same year as well as their win percentage (.786).
• The Pilots finished second in the WCC, their highest finish since the 2016 season, Portland head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt’s first at the helm.
• Their home record of 11-0-2 was their best since 1988, and their 11 wins at home in a row was the longest such home winning streak in the nation last season.
• The Pilots have scored in all but two of their matches for the first time since 2000, and scored at least two goals in 16 of their 21 matches. That’s the most times they’ve hit either benchmark in a season.
• Portland’s 51 goals were the most by a Portland team since 1995, and also marks the 10th time a Portland team has scored 50 goals in a year. It ranked first in the WCC and fourth nationally.
• Portland finished the year ranked 10th nationally in the united Soccer Coaches Top 25 poll and enter this year ranked 13th. They are also 15th in the TopDrawerSoccer Top 25 poll.
• The Pilots led the conference last year in 14 different statistical categories last season and ranked in the top 10 nationally in goal differential (third, 32), total goals (fourth, 51), total points (fourth, 154), won-lost-tied percentage (seventh, .786), goals per game (eighth, 2.43), points per game (ninth, 7.33) and total assists (ninth, 52).
• They were the first team to have a WCC Player of the Week winner four weeks in a row and the only team to sweep the awards twice since the WCC changed the format two seasons ago. They won 11 of a possible 24 honors.
• The Pilots had 10 players earn All-WCC honors last year, with five of those players returning this year: Nick Fernandez, Kevin Bonilla, Sebastian Nava, Oliver Jeppe and Muslim Umar.
• Fernandez was an All-WCC First Team selection as a midfielder, posting one goal and seven assists on the year. His seven assists was tied for second on the team and third in the WCC.
• Along with the All-WCC honors, Fernandez was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-West Region Third Team and the TopDrawerSoccer Freshmen Best XI Second Team.
• Bonilla, the team’s captain this year, was stellar as a fullback for the Pilots, notching a goal and two assists while helping man a back line that posted the most shutouts over a season by a Pilot team (10) since 1990. Bonilla also made the All-WCC Second Team.
• Nava comes into this year after being the first Pilot since Rey Ortiz in 2017 to post at least 10 assists in a season. His assist total led the WCC and ranked ninth natinoally.
• Nava added four goals as well to make it 18 points total, which was third in the WCC. He enters this year being named one of the Midfielders to Watch by United Soccer Coaches.
• Jeppe and Umar are prepared to take on bigger roles after making the All-WCC Freshman Team last year. Jeppe was solid in the midfield and as a defender, playing in 19 matches.
• Umar played in 21 matches with two starts, the most matches played of any true freshman last year. He scored four goals and added one asssist, including a goal against Oregon State in Portland’s second round win over them in the NCAA Tournament.
• Portland enters this season as the preseason favorite to win the West Coast Conference, having been picked to finish first by their peers in the annual WCC Coaches Preseason Poll.
• Along with that, Fernandez, Bonilla and Nava were all picked to the WCC Preseason Team along with forward Jacob Babalai. The four players selected are the most for the Pilots ever.
• Babalai is coming off an impressive year for Portland as one of the top strikers in the conference. He scored eight goals and added four assists for 20 points total, becoming the first player along with Brandon Cambridge last year to score 20 points in a season since Benji Michel in 2018.
• Despite losing several key players, the Pilots still return 18 from last year’s squad, including five who played in 20 matches or more last season for Portland. Another five played in at least 10 matches for the Pilots.
• Among those not yet mentioned is Nick Denley, a local product who earned a scholarship just last season and played his first full year for the Pilots last year.
• The fullback scored one goal and added three assists on the year for the Pilots in 20 matches. His goal was the first one of the season for Portland.
• Julian Conze played in 15 matches on the back line for the Pilots and was solid off the bench, notching two assists on the year.
• Sebastian Hernandez bounced back from a knee injury sustained his first year on The Bluff and put together a solid season on the back line for the Pilots, playing 13 matches with three stats.
• Michael Hatcher earned the first regular minutes of his career and even scored a goal against Cal Poly, the first of his career. He played 13 matches for Portland.
• Finally, Buba Fofanah worked his way back from a knee injury in the spring to play in 11 matches for Portland. He scored a goal and added two assists in his time played last year.
• Portland went 4-2-3 against teams who finished in the top 50 in RPI last season. They defeated Oregon State (15), Western Michigan (16), UCLA (22) and Seton Hall (38), earned ties against Indiana (2), Denver (27) and Central Arkansas (49) and only lost to Pitt (7) and Oregon State (15).
• The Pilots bring in a highly touted newcomers class of 15 players, including seven transfers and eight true freshmen.
• The seven transfers coming in are Kash Oladapo (Saint Mary’s), Boyd Curry (Saint Mary’s), Samory Powder (Detroit Mercy), Wylie Trujillo (Gonzaga), Timothy Ennin (Northeastern), Micaah Garnette (St. John’s) and Jesus Salazar (Mount St. Mary’s).
• The eight freshmen include Nicholas Dunbar, Diego Rosas, Joe Highfield, Angel Martinez, Drew Hartman, Morgan Olson, William Cornog and Efetobo Aror.
• TopDrawerSoccer ranked Portland’s incoming class as the No. 2 class in the nation, Portland’s highest ranking ever under head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt.
• Of the eighth freshmen coming in, four were ranked in the top 100 of their class by TopDrawerSoccer: Rosas (52), Martinez (71), Dunbar (86) and Aror (100).
• Powder, a winger from Detroit Mercy, comes to Portland after making the 2022 Horizon League Second Team last year. Powder has earned several call-ups with Trinidad’s senior national team, training most recently at their camp before the Gold Cup this past summer.
• Garnette comes in with national team experience as well, having played with the St. Kitts national team. Garnette last played collegiate soccer for St. John’s in 2021, playing in 18 matches with five starts.
• Ennin comes to Portland after four seasons with Northeastern. He made the All-CAA Third Team in 2019 and 2021 and the All-CAA Second Team in 2020-21. Ennin was the CAA Rookie of the Year in 2019.
• Curry played for Saint Mary’s the past four seasons and was a consistent starter as a defender for the Gaels. He earned All-WCC honors his final three seasons with the Gaels, making the second team in 2020-21 and 2022 and honorable mention in 2021. Curry was a All-West Region selection in 2021 and 2020-21 as well.
• Oladapo is a local product from Happy Valley joining Curry from Saint Mary’s. He started in 15 matches for the Gaels, posting a GAA of 1.15 and 38 saves.
• Salazar got two seasons of playing time at Mount Saint Mary’s and was an All-MAAC Third Team selection.
• Jose Olmos and Marios Andreou also both return for Porltand after suffering injuries last season that allowed them to only play a combined six games.
• Olmos played three seasons at Old Dominion as a defender. He was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2019.
• Andreou played four seasons at Grand Canyon, earning All-WAC honors twice for the ‘Lopes.
• Carlin-Voigt is in his eighth year at the helm of the Pilots.
• In his first year on The Bluff he led Portland to an improbable turn-around en route to the 2016 WCC title and an NCAA Playoff berth.
• It was the program’s first WCC Championship since 2002, and it was their first trip to the NCAA postseason since 2009.
• In 2016 Carlin-Voigt became the program’s first WCC Coach of the Year since Clive Charles in 2002.
• In 2018, Carlin-Voigt helped the Pilots make the NCAA Tournament and advance to the second round with a thrilling 1-0 over UCLA at Merlo Field. The opening-round win was the first for the Pilots since 2009 and the first home playoff win since 2002.
• Carlin-Voigt, who came to The Bluff from UCLA during the winter of 2016, was named one of the Top 10 American Coaches under 40 by Top Drawer Soccer in 2017.
• The Pilots have an entirely new assistant coaching staff, bringing in Matthew Deemer, Ben Simon and Alex Hockborn.
• The Pilots claim renowned men’s soccer alums Kasey Keller, Steve Cherundolo, Conor Casey, Nate Jaqua, Heath Pearce, and 2015 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Luis Robles.
• In 1988, legendary coach Clive Charles led Keller and the Pilots to the school’s first ever NCAA College Cup; the Pilots returned to the College Cup in 1995.
• The Pilots have made 18 appearances in the NCAA Postseason all-time, which includes two appearances in the College Cup (1988 & 1995).
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
• The San Francisco Dons are 8-3-5 overall and 2-2-2 in WCC play to rank fourth
• Last year, they went 7-6-4 and 0-5-2 in WCC play.
• Chris Brown is in his third season as head coach of the Dons.
PILOTS IN THE PROS
• Portland has a long tradition of sending players to the pros, with several athletes playing at the next level.
• Benji Michel, who played with the Pilots from 2016-18, signed a homegrown contract with Orlando City SC back in 2018 and has even earned call-ups to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s U-23 and senior squad. He currently plays for Portugese side Arouca.
• The Pilots had three players from last year’s squad sign professional contracts this past year.
• Brandon Cambridge signed with MLS side Charlotte FC, Gurman Sangha signed an MLSNext Pro contract with Charlotte and Delentz Pierre signed a homegrown contract with Real Salt Lake.
• Additionally, alum Luis Robles has carved out an impressive career with the Red Bulls and he was named the 2015 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
• On March 11, 2017, Robles set an MLS record for consecutive league starts with 142, and he’s run that streak to 183, spanning from September 2012 to May 2018.
• Robles also became the first player in club history to record 50 clean sheets on April 15, 2017 after a 2-0 victory against D.C. United.
• Jacobo Reyes also currently plays for Liga MX side Raya2 Expansion.
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