Oct. 9, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Playing at home for only the second time in the last nine games, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-7-2, 1-1-1 BWC) were defeated in their Big West home opener against the UC Davis Aggies (3-8, 1-2 BWC) Saturday evening.
The only goal of the contest came on a free kick in the 25th minute from Aggie forward John Joslin, a scoring opportunity that originated from an indirect kick taken from just a few yards outside the Matador penalty area.
After receiving a tapped pass from his teammate, a sea of players rushed towards the ball in an attempt to either block the shot and clear it away from harm's way, or redirect the kick towards the Matador net.
Unfortunately for CSUN, Joslin's free kick ricocheted off the leg of a random player and trickled into the net for the only goal of the game. With the members of the Matador wall charging after Joslin, and the remaining players all fighting for position within a confined area in front of the Matador net, that one random deflection would prove to be the difference in the match.
CSUN was able to create a few scoring opportunities of their own, none more dangerous than the sequence of plays that took place during the last 15 minutes of the match.
With a raucous crowd at Matador Soccer Field cheering them on, CSUN came inches away on multiple occasions from scoring the equalizing goal. Shots from Brian Behrad, Rafael Garcia, Sam Ball, and a header by Camilo Rojas with mere second remaining in the game nearly tied the match, but Davis was able to either make the save or watched the ball fly out-of-bounds just inches away from its intended target.
In total, five different Matadors were able to take shots at Davis goalkeeper Omar Zeenni. Led by Garcia and his four shots, two of which were on goal, the Aggies survived CSUN's late-game attack and were able to escape Matador Soccer Field with their first conference victory.
Finishing the contest with five saves as well, Matador goalkeeper Michael Abalos showed everyone in attendance why he earned All-Big West honors last season as he made some brilliant point-blank saves in the second half to keep the Davis advantage to only one goal.
Playing on their heels for latter portion of the game, the only scoring opportunities that the Aggies were able to create were on a counterattack. Any save made by Zeenni in the second half was quickly followed by a long-ball pass in an attempt stave off the sea of Matador attackers, while trying to catch CSUN's back-line off-guard as well.
The loss snapped a three-game unbeated streak for CSUN.
CSUN will now face the Cal State Fullerton Titans at Matador Soccer field this Wednesday before traveling to Davis to complete their season series against the Aggies next Saturday.