Sept. 18, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Goals scored by Dylan Riley and Sunghyun Kim only three minutes from one another helped propel the Cal State Northridge Matadors (4-1-0) to their second come-from-behind victory in as many games with their 2-1 win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-3-1) in the first game of the Prego Italian Express Invitational.
With the win the Matadors extended their win streak to four games, and will face tournament-host SMU Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. CT/1:30 p.m. PT. A victory over the Mustangs will give the Matadors their second tournament title of 2009 as they emerged form last week's Matador Invitational as co-champions.
Freshman goalkeeper Michael Abalos was named the starting goalkeeper for the first time in his young career against the Golden Hurricane. Unfortunately he saw little action in the first half, his first save of the game was not earned until the 53rd minute of action, as both teams took only two shots apiece and went into the locker room at halftime tied at zero.
The score could have easily been 1-0 in Tulsa's favor were it not for the lightning-quick reflexes of Abalos who dove and deflected one Golden Hurricane shot off the far post, preserving the clean sheet.
Northridge would not be as fortunate later on in the game when Tulsa took the initial lead after 57 minutes of action, forcing the Matadors to generate another come-from-behind effort in hopes of securing at least a draw.
In the 75th minute, CSUN was able to do just that as Ruben Rodriguez' corner kick found the head of Riley who quickly found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
"On our corners Tulsa chose to play a zone defense, which is better for us to execute our plays from the corners. Someone came up in front of me for the ball and missed it, so I took full advantage of the opportunity and headed in the shot," stated Riley.
"After that, we wanted the victory. There was no way we were going to settle for a tie."
Pressing the action on Tulsa's half of the pitch, Tulsa goalkeeper Andy Aguilar misplayed a pass back towards him, had trouble gaining possession of the ball in an attempt to clear the ball from the front of his goal, and was out-hustled by Kim who was able to wrestle possession away from the goalkeeper to score the deciding goal.
Since the play initially originated off a pass from the feet of a Tulsa defender, Aguilar was unable to pick up the ball with his hands. Knowing this, Kim made a heads-up decision to charge towards Aguilar in an attempt to force a quick pass.
That pass never came to fruition, morphing into a scoring opportunity that CSUN capitalized upon.
For the fourth straight game CSUN not only out-shot their opponents, this time by an 11-10 margin, but also took more shots on goal. Coincidentally, all four games ended up being Matador victories.
"This was an extremely competitive contest by both teams," stated head coach Terry Davila. "Tulsa was a tough team to play against. Now we are looking forward towards playing SMU on their home field, the competition does not get any easier. Hopefully we can execute and put forth another effort like we did against Tulsa and hopefully emerge with a victory."
CSUN's 4-1 record is the best start to a season (after five games played) since 2003 when that team began their respective campaign with a 3-0-2 mark.