Freshman Joel Gustafsson made his first goal a memorable one, scoring the “golden goal” in overtime of Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Providence.

“He’s got the attitude,” said coach Dave Masur. “He really deserves the goal.”

The play came in the game’s 95th minute. St. John’s made a run at the goal and managed to get their first corner kick of the match. Fellow freshman Ryan Soroka kicked it in front of the goal.

Gustafsson, though not the tallest player in the crowd, leapt and headed the ball into the corner of the net.
“Sometimes it’s not all about size,” said Masur. “He’s got the attitude to make a difference.”

Gustafsson credited Soroka, saying, “[It was a] perfect corner; couldn’t be better.”

The first half was a back and forth battle. St. John’s had a handful of opportunities but they were botched by Providence’s defense.

There was a total of only four shots between both teams in the first half.

In the second half, St. John’s was put at a disadvantage when defender Billy Hole was slowed by an injury. He tried to play with it but had to be removed from the game.

Tadeu Terra showed off some fancy footwork and took a few shots on goal but none came to result in a goal.

With only 20 minutes left of regulation game time, St. John’s faced another blow to their effort. Michael Luk attempted a sliding tackle but fouled a Flier for his second yellow card of the game, resulting in the Red Storm’s first red card of the year.
“It hurts us tonight and it hurts us going into Louisville,” Masur said.

Forced to play the rest of the match down a man, St. John’s looked vulnerable. Providence made a run and took a shot that flew just through keeper Jason Landers’ fingers and into the goal.

But, the official called it offsides and, to the relief of the 904 in attendance, there was no goal scored.

The rest of regulation time went by scoreless and it appeared as if St. John’s might face its second consecutive scoreless tie to a Big East rival at Belson Stadium.

But, in the fifth minute of overtime, Gustafsson scored the golden goal. The team on the pitch and on the bench ran to the goal and mobbed him.

“We did well defensively, keeping a zero on the board, and just got our one shot,” team captain Georgios Spanos said.
Following the Storm’s victory, Gustafsson has received national praise.

He was named Defensive Player of the Week by the Big East, earned college goal of the week honors from and was named’s national team of the week.

“Joel with the World Cup header,” added Spanos. “He’s done a remarkable job.”