There were no doubts Tuesday night for the No. 3 Clemson men’s soccer team as they swiftly defeated Radford by a score of 5-0 behind a dominant 4-point performance from Robbie Robinson.
“I think we came out with a purpose, but it’s almost like we scored too early,” said Clemson head coach Mike Noonan afterward. “Once we scored the third goal, I thought that we relaxed and we didn’t play with the urgency we needed too. Sometimes that happens. This is a very difficult game to play when you’re sandwiched between two big ACC teams and it’s tough for Radford too.”
The game was as good as over just over a minute into the match after a crucial error on the Radford side. After the ball bounced around in the box for a bit, a Radford defender found the wrong side of the ball sending a slow roller into the net for an own goal. This gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead and it was all uphill from there.
The scoring continued early in the first half for the Tigers as they scored their second goal of the game at the 6:53 mark in the match. On ball just inside the box, Robinson put together some magical footwork spinning through multiple defenders and delivered a pinpoint pass to Adrien Nunez.
After out running the keeper on the right side of the box, Nunez took advantage of a practically open net and strengthening the Clemson lead to two goals.
Clemson captain Tanner Dietrich found himself on the scoring sheet next. After a barrage of shots on cage, Dietrich took advantage of a Robinson shot and save that worked its way onto his feet. As composed as a senior captain should be, Dietrich buried his opportunity furthering the Tigers’ lead to 3-0.
Robinson continued his special night in the 2nd half after a foul just outside of the box. At the 76:25, he lined up a 21-yard free kick and delivered a rocket.
Going bar down, Robinson’s highlight reel free kick was his 13th goal of the season and gave the Tigers’ their 4th goal of the night.
“I don’t want Robbie to do anything differently,” Noonan said. “He’s scored like seven goals. I want him to keep doing what he’s doing because what he’s doing is outstanding. He’s playing at the highest level he’s ever played at Clemson on both sides of the ball and he’s producing.
“I’m unbelievably proud of Robbie because it hasn’t always been easy for him and he’s now reaping the benefits of getting a little more discipline with the way he plays.”
Just over a minute later, at 77:34, Clemson (11-1-1, 4-1-1 ACC) scored its fifth and final goal of the match. With professional level ball movement, Robinson received a pass down the wing and comfortably delivered a ball across the box that found the foot of James Brighton. The keeper had no chance one-on-one with Brighton as he powered the ball into the net and capped off the 5-0 Clemson victory.
“It’s one of those games that I’ve played in and coached in and it’s tough,” Noonan said. “But then again, I’m proud of the guys. We put five goals in and we did do a lot of really good things. We just finished our non-conference schedule undefeated with no ties and no blemishes.
“Was it our best performance? No it wasn’t our best performance, but that’s alright. We’re going to save that for Friday night and hopefully the next Friday night.”
Clemson will be on short break as they face Boston College at home on Friday at Historic Riggs Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
–photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications