LAS VEGAS, Nev. -
Two timely second-half goals spelled the difference in the match as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-3-0) were defeated 3-1 by the UNLV Rebels (1-3-1) on Friday afternoon at Johann Memorial Field. Sagi Lev-Ari scored his fourth goal for the Matadors but goals in the 48th and 86th minutes clinched the match for UNLV.
The Matadors dominated the scoresheet offensively as Northridge put up 25 shots to UNLV's 17 and led the shots on goal margin 11-6. The Matadors also took more corner kicks in the match (6-4) but were unable to lead in the category that matters most as Rebels goalkeeper Joe Vitale made 10 saves to preserve his first win of the season.
UNLV struck first on the scoreboard by putting up the match's first goal in the 21st minute. Salvador Bernal took a pass from Connor Coletti and shot the ball from outside the box for his first of the year.
Northridge leveled the match just over two and a half minutes later on Lev-Ari's team-leading fourth goal of 2012. Beto Velasquez took a shot that was saved by Vitale before Lev-Ari got to the loose ball first and put it in the back of the net.
The teams played the rest of the first half scoreless but it was the Rebels that made the most of their first opportunity after the second half whistle. Bernal picked up an assist on Nick Marshall's goal inside the left post in the 48th minute to give UNLV the lead for good.
Robert Garcia added insurance for UNLV in the 86th after collecting a cross from Marshall to put the Rebels ahead 3-1.
Northridge forward Edwin Rivas led all players with nine shots taken and Velasquez had four of his five shots go on goal.
The match concludes the season opening five-match road trip for Northridge. The Matadors return home on Saturday, Sept. 8 for their annual alumni match at 7 p.m. at Matador Field. The 2012 regular season home opener is set for Friday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. against the Army Black Knights.