Clemson has continued to build on its momentum from the past week with two important wins over South Florida and Wake Forest.
The Tigers defeated South Florida 1-0 in overtime on the road in Tampa. Clemson came off a close road win on Friday against Virginia Tech, so turning around and winning on the road against a tough opponent was no small task.
Clemson was put under pressure early on in the match, relying heavily on the backline and Ximo Miralles to keep the score level. However, the Tigers were able to counter and almost took the lead when a goal was ruled to be offsides. Miralles had a big game for Clemson and kept the team in the game with a number of timely saves in both halves.
Aaron Jones nearly won the game for the Tigers in the closing minute with a free kick that hit off the post. Jones has proven to be deadly on set pieces this year and a good replacement for TJ Casner.
Austen Burnikel scored the game winner only a few minutes into the first period of overtime. Burnikel has a real nose for goal and he was able to get on to an Oliver Shannon cross in the six-yard box for the deciding goal.
Clemson gutted out another close win on Friday, this time a 1-0 victory over #11 Wake Forest. The game was a typical ACC game; it was evenly matched throughout and came down to the last minutes as Wake Forest threw everything forward to get an equalizer.
Grayson Raynor was again provided the winner for Clemson. Raynor has really shown out this year; he already has five goals this year after playing a reserve role the past two seasons. Diego Campos had a great individual run down the left side and crossed the ball into the six-yard box. Raynor worked free from his defender and poked the ball home.
Clemson has rebounded well from a disappointing loss to North Carolina. They now have four positive results in a row, including three games on the road and three games against ranked conference opponents. I really like the direction the team is trending right now. Lastly, I want to sing the praises of Ximo Miralles. I was really worried about the goalkeeper position heading into this season. Andrew Tarbell was a great goalie for Clemson and his departure left some big shoes to fill. Miralles has stepped in and performed admirably for the Tigers and I’m excited to see him continue to develop.
Clemson has Coastal Carolina and NC State up next on the schedule.