NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Looking to continue the momentum created after a pair of wins at home last week, the Cal State Northridge Matadors split their matches between home and the road this week. On Thursday, Sept. 20, Northridge will travel South to face the University of San Diego Toreros at 7 p.m. Following the match at USD, Northridge will return home for its final non-conference match of the season. On Saturday, Sept. 22 the Air Force Falcons come to Matador Soccer Field for a 7 p.m. match under the lights.
The match at San Diego will feature live stats and free video streaming while the contest with Air Force includes live stats and a free audio braodcast. All related links for this week's matches are available on the men's soccer schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Following the pair of matches this week, Northridge will open its Big West Conference slate with home games against UC Davis and Sacramento State next weekend.
Matadors (4-3) at San Diego Toreros (2-3)
Thursday, Sept. 20 - 7 p.m.
Torero Stadium (6,000) - San Diego, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Free Video: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Matadors vs. Air Force Falcons (3-3-1)
Saturday, Sept. 22 - 7 p.m.
Matador Soccer Field (1,900) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Audio: Play-By-Play Available at GoMatadors.com
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Follow Your Matadors Online
All home matches this season will include live stats coverage and selected matches will also feature a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com. For road contests related links to the game, inlcuding for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the match on the schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the Cal State Northridge Athetics Department's official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) for updates of matches in progress and news and notes throughout the week.
A Closer Look at San Diego
The Matadors travel down to San Diego to face the Toreros on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. Northridge has dropped the last three matches against USD and hasn't scored a goal in the series since taking a 3-0 victory at Torero Stadium in 2004. San Diego enters the week with a record of 2-3-0 and most recently lost to then-No. 6 UC Santa Barbara 3-0 at home on September 14.
Eli Galbraith-Knapp leads the Torero attack with two goals and four points this seaosn. Six of his eight shots taken have been on goal and he averages a goal scored for every four shots he takes. Patrick Wallen is the only Torero with a goal and an assist on the year and has three points. He leads the team with 19 shots this season and seven shots on goal. Both he and Galbraith-Knapp have game-winning goals as USD has picked up a pair of 2-0 wins over Ohio State at home and Houston Baptist at a neutral site.
Goalkeeper Michael D'arrigo has played every minute in net this season for the Toreros and has a 2-3-0 record with a pair of shutouts. He has made 25 saves and has a goals against average of 1.39 in nearly 452 minutes of action.
Following the match against Northridge, the San Diego Toreros will travel to Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, Sept. 23.
A Closer Look at Air Force
Following the match at San Diego, the Matadors will return to Matador Soccer Field to take on the Air Force Falcons. Northridge leads the all-time series 2-1, most recently winning 4-0 over the Falcons on Sept. 26, 2010 in Northridge. Air Force enters the week with a record of 3-3-1 and faces the Cal State Fullerton Titans on the road on Thursday, Sept. 20 before meeting the Matadors this Saturday night.
The Falcons have won three of their last four matches and are coming off of a 2-0 win over Presbyterian at home on September 16. They have also defeated Villanova and Penn on the road and worked for a scoreless draw at home against UC Davis. Air Force has lost two of its matches in overtime and was defeated in its season opener 3-0 at Army.
Abinadi Samayoa leads the Air Force offensively with two goals for four points on the
season. He has taken just eight shots but has converted on two of three shots on goal. Kevin Durr and Zane Dydasco each have a goal and an assist on the year for three points. Durr leads the way with 22 shots taken and is also 1-1 in penalty kicks.
Goalkeeper Matt Underwood has played all 668 minutes in goal for the Falcons and has three shutouts to his credit this season. He has compiled an impressive 0.94 goals against average and has made 30 saves in seven matches.
Following the California trip, Air Force will return home to open conference play against Denver next weekend.
Results from Last Week
The Cal State Northridge Matadors returned to form last week, outscoring opponents by a combined margin of 7-1 in two wins at Matador Soccer Field. In CSUN's home opener on Friday, Sept. 14, the Matadors cruised by the Army Black Knights 5-0. Sagi Lev-Ari started off the scoring for Northridge with a goal in the sixth minute. He added his second of the match and sixth of the season in the 55th minute of play. Beto Velasquez, Brian Behrad and Jose Luis Garcia also added goals in the contest. Overall, 10 different Matadors recorded a point in the match as Carlos Benavides (2), David Turcios, Yuval Barak, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Smith and Christian Gonzalez Diaz earned assists as well.
Redshirt freshman Luis Ayala-Padilla got the start in goal for the Matadors after Michael Abalos was held out for precautionary reasons after a collision in practice earlier in the week. Ayala-Padilla was tested only twice, making two saves to earn the first win and shutout of his CSUN career.
On Sunday, Sept. 16, the Matadors were able to hold off a late rally to defeat the visiting Temple Owls 2-1. The two sides played a physical match as five yellow cards and one red were issued on the day. Northridge got on the scoreboard first as Velasquez scored his second goal of the weekend in the 40th minute. He received a cross from Behrad on the right side of the box and volleyed the ball into the lower left corner of the net. Edwin Rivas pushed the CSUN lead to 2-0 with an unassisted goal in the 78th. After forcing a turnover in the box, the forward slotted the ball past the goalkeeper for his third of the year.
Rewriting the Record Books
One indication of the success goalkeeper Michael Abalos has earned so far in his career can be seen in the Matador record books. The San Juan Capistrano, Calif. native earned a spot on four different lists with his numbers earned during his first three seasons at Northridge. Abalos is now tied for sixth place with his 19 career victories, is eighth all-time with his 1.35 career goals against average and is second all-time with his 15 career shutouts. His seven clean sheets earned in 2011 are also the third-highest number of shutouts earned in a season, tying him with Jeff Blumkin (1988) and Mike Caputo (1986) and their respective single-season performances. His 58 matches in goal place him third on the all-time list.
Redshirt sophomore Edwin Rivas is picking up right where he left off at the end of last season. Through the first three weeks of 2012, Rivas has three goals, an assist and seven points. Rivas scored a goal and had an assist in Northridge's 4-0 win over Portland and scored the tying goal against American University in a 2-1 win. For his work over the first weekend, he was named the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic Offensive MVP and earned Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors as well. Most recently, he scored the game-winning goal over Temple in a 2-1 win on September 16. For his career, Rivas now has eight goals, one assist and 17 points.
Everybody Needs a Little Lev-Ari
Sophomore forward Sagi Lev-Ari made a statement in his first match in a Northridge uniform. In the Matadors' 4-0 victory over the Portland Pilots on August 24, Lev-Ari scored the first and last goals of the match to secure his first four points of the season. He became the first Matador with a multiple-goal match since Rafael Garcia put in two penalty kicks at UC Davis on September 28, 2011. On September 2 at Loyola University Maryland, Lev-Ari scored his third goal of the campaign off of a free kick. Jose Luis Garcia touched a short ball to Lev-Ari who fired in a lined shot from about 22 yards out. Lev-Ari also scored the lone CSUN goal at UNLV and had two in the win over Army to give him six on the year, best in the Big West.
Junior midfielder Carlos Benavides continues to help the Matadors find ways to score goals. After tying for the Big West Conference lead with eight assists and leading in assists per game (0.47), he is well on his way to taking home the top spot in those categories again this season. At the Wilson Titan Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton Benavides picked up two assists, one in each of the Matadors' victories over Portland (4-0) and American (2-1). He also notched a pair of assists in CSUN's 5-0 win over Army on September 14. Benavides is tied for the Big West lead with four assists and ties for second with a 0.57 assists per game average through seven matches.
One and One is Three
Sophomore forward Edwin Rivas was the first Matador to put up a goal and an assist in the same match this season when he accomplished the feat against Portland on August 24. Sophomore forward Sagi Lev-Ari had two goals of his own in that match to record four points as each put up performances that are hard to come by. Lev-Ari followed up his display with another two-goal outing in a 5-0 win over Army in Northridge's home opener. The forward scored the eventual game-winning goal in the sixth minute and added another in the 55th to lead the Matadors to their largest margin of victory since a 6-1 win over Detroit on Aug. 31, 2007. A pair of Matadors put up multiple-point performances in a match last season. Against #19 Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 1, both Christian Gonzalez Diaz and Carlos Benavides tallied three points, as Gonzalez Diaz scored and had an assist and Benavides recorded three different helpers.
Matadors in the Big West Top Ten
With one week remaining on the non-conference schedule, a number of Matadors have jumped into the individual rankings for the Big West Conference. Edwin Rivas leads the conference in shots taken (30). He ranks among the leaders in points (T-7th - 7), points per game (T-8th - 1.00), goals (T-5th - 3) and goals per game (T-9th - 0.43). He also leads the league with 4.29 shots per game. Sagi Lev-Ari is ranked second with 1.71 points per game and is third in the Big West with 24 shots taken. Lev-Ari is the league leader in points (12), goals (6) and goals per game (0.86).
Beto Velasquez checks in tied for fifth in the conference with one game-winning goal. He also ties for 10th with 14 shots, ties for seventh with seven points and ties for fifth with three goals. Carlos Benavides ranks tied for first with four assists and ties for second and 0.57 assists per game while teammate Yuval Barak checks in at fourth with three helpers.. Goalkeeper Michael Abalos ranks seventh in the conference in goals against average (1.33), save percentage (.680) and saves per game (2.80). He is eighth with 0.17 shutouts per game and also ranks tied for sixth with one shutout and 17 overall saves.
The Cal State Northridge Matadors have seen production out of every position on the field early in the season. In the team's first seven matches, six different players have scored a goal and 12 total Matadors have recorded at least one point. The team put up 46 points thus far and is third in the Big West Conference in that category. Each of the four goals against the Portland Pilots in the season-opening 4-0 win had an assist by a different player. Among the point scorers for Northridge are five forwards, three midfielders and two defenders led by forward Sagi Lev-Ari with 12 Edwin Rivas (7), Beto Velasquez (7), Jose Luis Garcia (3), Brian Behrad (2) and Joe Franco (2) have scored goals while Carlos Benavides (4), Yuval Barak (3), Carlos Gonzalez (1) and Christian Gonzalez Diaz (2) have earned assists. Lev-Ari has scored a goal in four matches this year and leads the team with six goals. Rivas, Velasquez and Garcia have each scored at least one goal and an assist this season.
You Can't Score if You Don't Shoot
Through the first five matches of the season, the Matadors have taken 135 shots. Cal State Northridge leads the Big West Conference in shots taken and is third in goals scored (15), points (46) and goals per game (2.14). Over Northridge's two matches against Army and Temple, the team took a combined 49 shots and scored seven goals. Their opposition took just 15 shots and scored once. Eighteen different Matadors have recorded a shot this season and just under half of the shots taken have been on goal. At the same time, opponents have recorded just 71 total shots and 27 shots on goal.
Of the 19 matches on the schedule this year, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will play just eight at Matador Soccer Field, including three non-conference matches in September. That may bode well for the Matadors, as the team had a record of 5-3-1 in road contests last season. Northridge opens up the 2012 season with five straight matches away from home beginning with two at the Cal State Fullerton Tournament against Portland and American. CSUN will then head east for matches at Georgetown and Loyola University Maryland before taking on UNLV in Las Vegas on September 7. The Matadors' first home match will take place on Friday, Sept. 14 against Army. Northridge will also travel to face San Diego, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and UC Riverside this season.
Down, But Not Out
With just five matches gone by, the Matadors have already put up a few exciting performances. Following a 4-0 result against Portland, Northridge found itself down a goal early in the second half against American. It was then that the Matadors rattled off two goals in a span of three minutes to take the lead for good and pick up their second win of the year. Last season, Cal State Northridge was able to rally on more than a few occasions to put the team back into the game. In the Matadors' match against No. 2 Akron on September 3, Northridge played down a man for 66 minutes due to an accumulation of yellow cards by a defender. In the 25th minute of action, the Zips took advantage of the man advantage and pulled ahead with a 1-0 lead. Not to be put away, the Matadors played a more defensive game, with goalkeeper Michael Abalos recording seven saves between the time of the red card and when freshman Yarden Azulay scored to even the match on a breakaway in the 82nd minute. In all, the Matadors rallied from a goal down to tie the match three times (vs. UNLV, Akron, and UC Santa Barbara), all after the 75th minute. Against No. 22 CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 15, the Matadors rallied from being down two goals on the road to force overtime and earn a draw. On Oct. 22 at No. 7 UCLA, the Matadors trailed 2-1 before goals by Brian Behrad (83') and Edwin Rivas (87') led Northridge to its first victory over the Bruins in Westwood and just the second win over UCLA in school history.
Quick Out of the Gates
Northridge is 22-11-2 all-time in season openers, including wins in the past two. Northridge cruised by Portland University 4-0 at the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic and defeated Canisius at Matador Soccer Field 2-0 in 2011. In addition, Cal State Northridge opened the schedule at a neutral site for the first time since the 2002 season when the Matadors competed in the LMU Tournament in Los Angeles. Northridge went on to play in the NCAA Tournament that season. Northridge is also 2-0 for the first time since the 2005 campaign. That team reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Matadors are 26-9 in home openers after a 5-0 win over Army on September 14. They are 20-7-4 in conference season openers, and have only been defeated once in a Big West opener. CSUN has not lost a conference opener since 2002, when they were on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision against UC Irvine at home. The Matadors are now 8-1-2 all-time in Big West Conference openers after defeating the UC Davis Aggies 3-0 on Sept. 28, 2011. The longest streak for conference opening wins in Matador history is 10 seasons, accomplished from 1978-87 under the direction of head coaches Zvi Friedman, Ric Fonseca and Marwan Ass'ad.
Tickets for all home men's matches are available through the CSUN Associated Students Ticket Office. Adults are $8, while youth 17 and under and seniors 60 and older are $5. There is also a $3 discounted rate ticket for CSUN Faculty/Staff, Military Service Personnel and CSUN Alumni Association Members with their respective identification cards. CSUN students receive free admission to all home games with their CSUN I.D. Groups of 10 or more people may purchase $3 tickets, but tickets must be purchased a minimum of 24 hours in advance. For more information, call the A.S. Ticket Office at 818-677-2488.