Oct. 8, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Goals scored by midfielder Ben Cox (2g, 0a) and forward Milan Radovic (1g, 1a) helped the Matadors (5-4-2, 1-0-1 Big West) pull even with the defending Big West champion UC Santa Barbara (6-3-2, 1-0-1 Big West) as the two rivals left Harder Stadium Wednesday evening with a 2-2 tie.
Not only were the Matadors on the road, facing the 18th-ranked team in the nation on their own home field, but six of their starters were forced to witness the double-overtime match from the sidelines.
With a number of players resting various injuries, or ineligible to play due to red cards received in the previous game, head coach Terry Davila needed his team to rise to the occasion against one of the conference's more formidable teams.
Even though three-fourths of the total goals scored by the Matadors this season were on the sideline throughout the entire match, the Matadors still continued to set the pace of play on both sides of the ball.
The game began on an auspicious note for the Gauchos as forward David Walker scored the first goal of the match after only nine minutes of action.
The Matadors continued to keep their poise, unfazed from the inopportune start as they knew they faced a Gaucho defense that had given up twice as many goals as the Matadors to their opponents (20-8) going into Wednesday's contest.
Sunghyun Kim helped raise that total to 21 goals as he earned his third assist of the season on a goal scored by Ben Cox (2g, 0a) in the 18th minute that just escaped the reach of Gaucho goalkeeper Kristopher Minton and hugged the inside of the goalpost.
The frenetic action continued as Gaucho forward Chris Pontius scored his Big West-leading ninth goal only ten minutes later, giving the home team the lead going into halftime.
The goal by Pontius would be the last time that the Gauchos would find the back of the net as the Matador defense emerged from the locker room and neutralized the Gaucho offensive attack throughout the entire second half.
Momentum swung the Matadors was once Radovic tied the game at 2-2 in the 62nd minute.
Already down six players, on the road, having to come from behind against yet another ranked opponent, the Matadors fought their way into a position where they could steal a victory on the road, and pull off the upset against their rivals.
With the game tied at 2-2 after regulation play, the two Gauchos were issued a red card for their actions only second before the game ended. Midfielder Danny Barrera originally given a yellow card with 00:03 remaining in regulation for jumping close to the ball on a free kick, earned his second yellow card in as many seconds for crossing the 10-yard barrier once again as Radovic was attempting to re-set the Matador offense and take a free kick. Gaucho Assistant coach Neil Jones was also issued a red card on the play.
Even with the man advantage, the Matadors were unable to net the winning goal, and after an additional twenty minutes of game time, both teams walked off the field with the final 2-2 result, and an additional point in the Big West Conference standings.
The Matadors now have six days to prepare for yet another nationally-ranked opponent as they play in their second straight road game at UC Irvine next Wednesday.. The Matadors defeated the Anteaters in the final game of the season last year, and look to replicate their efforts at Anteater Stadium on October 15th. Kick-off is scheduled to take place at 7:00 p.m.