The West Virginia men’s soccer team was victorious in the 2018 edition of the Backyard Brawl as they defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 on Tuesday night.
In typical Backyard Brawl fashion, the match was physical as the two teams combined for 34 fouls, 23 of which were on Pitt.
“I think it was the tactic. I think that’s kind of their M.O.," WVU head coach Marlon LeBlanc said about Pitt's tough play. "They’re a very physical and hard-nosed team.”
Despite the match being physical, the intensity did not result in many shot attempts for either team in the first half as the two teams combined for only five shots. There were eight offsides called in the first half.
Although both teams had few scoring opportunities in the first half -- WVU (11-5, 3-0 MAC) had three shot attempts, Pitt had two -- West Virginia’s first shot of the night was good for a goal in the 16th minute.
Freshman midfielder Josh Dimatteo was in on the goal and it came off an assist from sophomore forward Tsubasa Takada and senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc.
Neither team would score again for the remainder of the half.
After the somewhat slow first half, though, West Virginia came out with much more energy and aggressiveness to begin the second.
The Mountaineers had six shot attempts in the first 10 minutes of the second half, including two shots on goal. WVU’s two shots on goal matched their entire first half total.
“The idea was to always continue to attack and still find ways to score another goal,” LeBlanc said.
WVU’s increased aggressiveness and opportunities resulted in a Piatczyc goal off a free kick in the 48th minute, which put West Virginia up 2-0.
Pitt (7-9, 2-5 ACC) responded after Piatczyc’s goal, though, with one of their own. Pitt’s goal came only one minute later in the 49th minute.
WVU had multiple missed scoring chances in the second half, including a shot in the 47th minute by junior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino which hit the crossbar and bounced out of play. Piatczyc’s goal, however, secured the victory for the Mountaineers.
Along with having a goal and an assist in the match, Piatczyc also led West Virginia in shot attempts with five.
“The kid’s big time. He’s a pro. He’s going to be a pro next year,” LeBlanc said on Piatczyc.
The win for the Mountaineers avenges last year's 7-0 loss to the Panthers in Pittsburgh.
Following their match against Pitt, West Virginia hosts MAC opponent Bowling Green on Friday night. A win for the Mountaineers will secure their first regular season conference championship since 1996 when WVU was in the Big East.
WVU and Bowling Green will kick off at 7 p.m.