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The Daily Tar Heel

Scott Goodwin able to set the tempo in UNC's win over State

RALEIGH — North Carolina goalkeeper Scott Goodwin can kick the ball a long way.

But Friday night in UNC’s 2-0 win at N.C. State, Goodwin didn’t punt or take a goal kick deep for the first 75 minutes of the game. Instead, he looked to roll the ball to the backline of defenders.

“We’re a possession-oriented team,” Goodwin said. “My first look, if it’s an easy out, would be to just roll it out to one of the backs or a midfielder just to start keeping the ball.

“That’s what we want to do — we want to have a lot of passes and get up the field through possession.”

The senior goalkeeper was granted the luxury of short passes as N.C. State was focused on playing tight defense.

After the Wolfpack lost possession it would retreat in the hopes of containing the Tar Heel offense. In reality, it was giving UNC the opportunity it was looking for.

“We always start from the back if we can,” coach Carlos Somoano said. “Especially if the opponent is going to give it to us. Obviously, they dropped off so deep they were giving it to us to play around the back.

“We’ll be patient, we’ll wait — no rush. We try to pick our moments.”

That moment came in the 64th minute when Rob Lovejoy broke the scoreless tie when he headed home a free kick taken by Martin Murphy.

Lovejoy assisted Danny Garcia for the second goal of the night with a delightful back heel pass along the end line.

But Lovejoy knows that the North Carolina offense is successful because of the way it builds possession from the back. And that starts with Goodwin.

“Scott does so many other things than just saving and getting shutouts every game,” Lovejoy said. “He is just a commanding voice back there. He knows our system inside and out. It really gives you confidence on the field knowing that he’s back there behind you.”

The Wolfpack changed up its mentality once the Tar Heels were on the scoreboard and even ended up outshooting UNC 15-10 as it stayed pressed up into Goodwin’s territory.

As a result, Goodwin started to punt the ball, but the Tar Heel offense had already made its mark on the game thanks to strong possession work coming out of the backfield.

“The hardest challenge is winning that big ball out of the air and getting it down and being able to play it,” Goodwin said.

“When you can just start off possessing the ball that’s definitely better.”

Contact the desk editor at

sports@dailytarheel.com.

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