September 26, 2010

Matador Offense Erupts in 4-0 Win over Air Force

Sept. 26, 2010

 

Box Score

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Competing in their final non-conference game before the start of Big West competition, the Cal State Northridge (1-6-1) offense was able to light up the scoreboard four times against the visiting Air Force Falcons (2-6).

Earning their first win of the season, CSUN now has six days to prepare for their inaugural Big West game at Cal State Fullerton this Saturday evening.

After a scoreless 45 minute session that saw both teams trade possessions with one another for the duration of the half, forward Camilo Rojas put CSUN on the scoreboard only 35 seconds into the second half to give his team a 1-0 lead.

It was a heads-up play by Rojas that began the fortunate turn of events for CSUN; a misplayed back-pass from a Falcon defender to his goalkeeper was quickly corralled by a hard-charging Rojas whose eyes lit up once he saw nothing but an empty net in front of him.

With momentum now clearly on their side, Northridge continued to attack the Falcon net in an attempt to double their lead. Moments after scoring the goal, CSUN was nearly successful on another two occasions as shots by Rojas and Gustavo Villalobos were just high and wide of their intended target.

But it was a 50/50 ball in the 51st minute that ended up changing the dynamic of the game when Air Force goalkeeper Matt Underwood and Rojas collided in mid-air in front of the Falcon goal when each attempted to gain possession of the ball.

With tempers on the field beginning to mirror the playing conditions once CSUN broke the scoreless tie, players from both teams gathered around the duo in an attempt to prevent any unfortunate events from taking place. When all was said and done, both Rojas and Falcon defender Eric Tise were removed from the game as each received a red card for their actions following the play.

Rather than succumbing to their emotions and negating momentum created by Rojas' goal, the Matadors regained their composure, remained focused, and continued to execute their game plan on both sides of the ball.

It was a long-ball from the foot of Rafael Garcia that set up the second Matador goal of the match, giving CSUN a comfortable advantage that would continue to grow as the game progressed.

With Alberto Rosas sprinting his way down the sideline, Garcia led his teammate with a pass that sailed over the entire Falcon defense to set up the scoring opportunity. Once Rosas beat all of the defenders to the ball, only Underwood stood in-between the Matador midfielder and a two-goal advantage.

Forcing Underwood to make the initial move on the one-on-one opportunity, Rosas easily curled his shot around the goalkeeper to score his first goal as a Matador.

CSUN would strike again four minutes later when defender Jeremy Hohn set up a one-time pass from Mattias Bonvehi to Rene Anguiano in front of the Air Force net.

Entering the penalty area to receive Hohn's pass, Bonvehi could have easily fired away in an attempt to score his second goal in as many games. Instead of taking a shot on goal himself, the junior forward found a pocket of space and delivered that one extra pass inside the penalty area to another teammate who was racing into the penalty area himself to join the action. Once Bonvehi found a pocket of space in front of Anguiano, he delivered the ball to his teammate's feet and joined the post-goal celebration moments later when Anguiano blasted a shot past Underwood into the net.

The score would remain 3-0 until Sam Ball scored his team-high third goal of the season in the 79th minute on another one-on-one opportunity created by the deft touch of another Garcia pass.

The Matador offense was not the only group that shined in CSUN's first home game in nearly a month as the Matador back-line completely shut down Air Force throughout the entire game.

Even though CSUN was out-shot by a 16-12 margin, Matador goalkeeper Michael Abalos easily saved both Air Force shots-on-goal to earn his first win of the season.

Sunday's game also marked the 2010 debut for two Matadors as midfielder Chris Smith and goalkeeper Manabu Kaji were called upon to help preserve CSUN's clean sheet. Initially entering the game in the first half, Smith ended the match with 23 minutes to his credit with Kaji earning eight minutes of playing time as well.