Late Goals Spell the Difference as Matadors Fall to New Mexico 3-1

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. –

The Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-3-0) led for over 45 minutes, but three late goals proved costly in a 3-1 defeat to the New Mexico Lobos (4-0-1) at the TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational on Sunday afternoon.

The Matadors were unable to hold off a late charge by the Lobos, who won for the sixth straight match in the series, a streak that dates back to 2003.

Despite being on the defensive for most of the match, Northridge pulled ahead in the 35th minute as Gustavo Villalobos scored his first goal of the season. The tally, which was assisted by Carlos Benavides, helped CSUN hold a 1-0 lead at halftime on just two shots compared to New Mexico's six.

The Matadors had quick chances early in the second half, but a shot for Joe Franco and a header from Luis Gutierrez were saved by Lobo goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez in the 59th minute. Those two shots were the only on-goal for Northridge in the second half as the team resorted to a more defensive approach to maintain the lead.

Northridge goalkeeper Michael Abalos had five saves on the day, but three scores in the final ten minutes of play sealed the match for the host Lobos. Kyle Venter, Devon Sandoval, and Blake Smith netted goals in the 84th, 85th and 86th minutes respectively to put New Mexico over the top. 

At the end of the match, the Lobos finished with more shots (14-8) and corner kicks (8-4) than the Matadors. Northridge finished play in the Lobo Invitational with a win and a loss after defeating Missouri State 3-0 on Friday.

The Matadors return to action this Thurs., September 15 at 7 p.m. against Cal State Bakersfield. The road match will be available via Internet video by clicking the "Video" link in the schedule at GoMatadors.com and will also be on GameTracker.

After traveling to Bakersfield, the Matadors will host their annual alumni match on September 18 at 7 p.m. at Matador Soccer Field. The next regular season home match will take place on Fri., September 23 against SMU. The match against the Mustangs is Youth Night, with fans 17 years of age and younger wearing their club soccer jerseys receiving free admission and postgame autographs.

Note: This version (9/11/11 10:09 p.m.) updates the original recap by adding in mention of Carlos Benavides' assist on the goal in paragraph three. It was originally scored as an unassisted goal.