A top-five matchup saw the No. 5 North Carolina men’s soccer team (2-1-1, 2-1-1 ACC) visit No. 3 Clemson (5-1-1, 3-1-1 ACC) on Tuesday night in a shootout that ended with a 3-3 draw after two overtime periods.
Clemson’s approach was to win midfield duels and find runners in behind UNC’s high defensive line. That resulted in the best chance of the first half, where Clemson winger Grayson Barber ran in behind and closed in on a one-on-one with UNC goalkeeper Alec Smir. Smir showed supreme reflexes for an impressive save off his leg.
UNC’s best chance of the first half was a free kick near the box curled over the bar by forward Santiago Herrera. Soon enough, it was 0-0 at halftime, with Clemson having created two shots on goal to UNC’s zero.
The start of the second half saw both teams create a golden chance near the six-yard box and somehow not score. Tigers forward Kimarni Smith broke the deadlock in the 59th minute, though, drawing a foul near the box, taking the free kick and sending a low drive under the Tar Heels' wall of defenders and into the bottom corner.
And 1-0 became 2-0 for Clemson after just 36 seconds.
Barber once again got in behind the defense and lost control in the box, but Smith cleaned up the mess and found the back of the net for his and Clemson’s second score.
After the second goal, UNC pressed with more intensity. Crucial to their newfound energy was forward Key White, who won the ball from Clemson’s Justin Malou, drove into the box and curled the ball into the inside of the side netting to make it 2-1 after 65 minutes.
On increasing intensity, UNC head coach Carlos Somoano said the 2020 season's thinner schedule has its pros, but the difficulty of becoming 100 percent sharp for 90 minutes is a con.