The No. 6-ranked West Virginia University men’s soccer team hits the road for the first time on Monday, Aug. 29, for a matchup at No. 7 Pitt. Kickoff at Ambrose Urbanic Field in Pittsburgh is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Fans can follow along with all of Monday night’s Backyard Brawl action with live stats, courtesy of pittsburghpanthers.com. Additionally, the match can be seen live on ACC Network and heard on 91.7 FM in Morgantown.
Monday’s fixture marks the 51st edition of men’s soccer’s Backyard Brawl. The Mountaineers (1-0) lead the all-time series, 35-10-5, including 16-6-2 on the road. Notably, WVU has played rival Pitt more than any other opponent in program history.
Last season, West Virginia earned a 2-1 win over Pitt on Aug. 30, 2021, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown. The Mountaineers are 7-2-1 in the last 10 meetings with Pitt and have only lost to the Panthers once in the last 20 years.
WVU opened the season with a 1-0 win over Robert Morris on Aug. 25, at home. A 36th-minute own goal was the difference as West Virginia earned its sixth consecutive season-opening victory. After senior midfielder Luke McCormick got the Mountaineers into attacking position, junior forward Yutaro Tsukada smashed the crossbar and the back of the RMU keeper for the night’s lone tally.
West Virginia outshot the Colonials, 8-2, including 4-1 in shots on goal. RMU didn’t record its first shot attempt of the match until the 73rd minute.
Five players made their WVU debuts in the season opener, including junior goalkeeper Jackson Lee. The Perth, Australia, native made one save on his way to his first Mountaineer win and shutout.
The Mountaineers began the season ranked No. 6 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Top 25, good for the highest ranking by the poll to begin a year in program history. The squad has produced a win over a top-25 opponent in 14 of the last 16 seasons, with 13 top-10 victories in that time.
Third-year coach Dan Stratford has an overall career record of 80-10-12, including 19-6-7 with the Mountaineers. Of note, Stratford is 11-1-5 in nonconference matches at WVU. Additionally, the RMU win was Stratford’s 100th in association with WVU. He won 54 matches as a student-athlete from 2004-07, 27 as an assistant coach from 2011-13, and has 19 wins as the Mountaineers’ head coach.
Pitt (1-0) is led by seventh-year coach Jay Vidovich, who is 58-50-8 at the school. The No. 7-ranked Panthers, who were voted the preseason ACC Coastal Division favorites, opened the season with an upset win over No. 2 Georgetown, 2-1, on Aug. 25, at home.
The squad finished 13-5-2 last season, including 5-2-1 in ACC play. UP reached the NCAA Quarterfinals before falling in a penalty-kick shootout at Notre Dame.
Prior to the start of the year, Pitt’s Valentin Noel was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List for the third straight year, while Jackson Walti appeared on the ACC Preseason Watch List.