NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-2) were on the attack all afternoon as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Missouri State Bears (0-4) in the opening match of the TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. Three different Matadors scored a goal and Chris Smith assisted on two to pace Northridge.
The Matadors had early chances in the match as shots by Taylor Bowlin and Edwin Rivas just missed wide of the target in the first eleven minutes of action. The tide seemed to shift for a minute, however, as the Bears fired off the next two shots, both saves by Northridge goalkeeper Michael Abalos.
Northridge took the lead shortly after, as a pass from Smith found Bowlin on the right side of the box in the 23rd minute. Bowlin steadied a shot and lifted it over the goalkeeper's head into the top left of the net to give the Matadors a 1-0 advantage they would not relinquish.
Abalos made his third save of the match just over four minutes later to keep the lead intact. Northridge had another opportunity to score but a header by James Rochlitz off of a corner kick was blocked before it could find its way to the net.
The Bears nearly tied the match up again in the 40th minute but a header by David Buckenheimer missed high and the Matadors took the 1-0 margin into halftime.
Northridge nearly doubled its lead early in the second half, but a penalty kick by Yarden Azulay was saved by the goalkeeper in the 48th minute after a foul in the box.
The second goal of the match was found by Rivas for the Matadors, who took a pass from Gustavo Villalobos near the penalty spot, turned from the defenders and smacked a hard shot into the lower right side of the net for his second tally of the season.
The two sides traded shots for the rest of the way until the 90th minute of play when Smith set up Azulay, who headed home the second goal of his career and pushed the final score to 3-0.
Abalos needed just four saves on the day to record his first clean sheet of the season. Thomas Ramos and Villalobos were each shown yellow cards in the match as the Matadors improved to 2-0-0 all-time against the Bears. The only other match between the two programs ended with a 3-2 Northridge victory on September 1, 2001 in a tournament game in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Matadors will continue play in the TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational on Sunday as they take on the host New Mexico at 12 p.m. PDT. Missouri State will face Columbia at 9:30 a.m. PDT.