October 18, 2008

Last-Second Goal Clinches 3-2 Win For The Matadors

Oct. 18, 2008

Box Score |  Quotes

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - With 24 seconds remaining in double-overtime, forward Camilo Rojas scored the game-winning goal for the Matadors (6-4-3, 2-0-2 Big West), a 3-2 victory over the visiting Cal State Fullerton Titans (3-11-1, 0-4-1 Big West) Saturday afternoon.

With their second conference win of the season, the Matadors are in fourth place by themselves in the Big West Conference standings, only one point behind Cal Poly.

Fullerton midfielder Michael Denny scored the first goal 18 minutes into the match as his free kick taken from just outside the penalty box gave the Titans the early lead.

The Matadors tied the game only ten minutes later as midfielder Sunghyun Kim raced down the sideline past a number of Titan defenders before taking a shot on goal that just escaped the reach of Titan goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon, before bouncing off the post into the net.

The goal was Kim's third of the season, and one of 11 shots taken by the Matadors in the first half.

Both teams would trade possessions throughout the initial minutes of the second half, until forward Celso Alvarez capitalized on the Titan counterattack, giving his team the lead once again in the 66th minute on a shot taken from just outside the penalty box.

Once the Titans regained the lead, the Matadors knew they had to play more aggressively on offense to create the scoring opportunities needed to even the match.

By stretching out the Titan defense with a string of methodically placed passes, the men in red were able to take shot after shot, only to see the results of their effort just miss its intended target.

A crossing pass from Matador defenseman Bo Miller to fellow defenseman Robert Pate drew the Titan defenders to one side of the goal, giving Rojas an opportunity to attack the net in the newly-created space, receive the ball off of the head of Pate, and net the equalizing goal in the 82nd minute.

Miller earned his first assist of the season on the play, while Pate earned his team-leading fourth assist of season in the process.

With the game going into overtime, both teams felt they had a chance to walk off Matador Field with a win; the Titans kept their poise and composure after giving up the equalizing goal, while the Matadors fed off the momentum created in the final minutes of regulation.

Both teams quickly established a furious pace of play as they would exchange possessions, and race from end to end, throughout both overtime sessions in an effort to end the game before the clock hit zero.

With less than a minute left in the second overtime, a long-ball sent from the feet of Sunghyun Kim met a speeding Rojas who was able to gain a step on his defender by racing by him down the sideline.

"I got a great ball from Matthew Chavez and carried it up the line. From there, I found Camilo and was just trying to get him a good ball as there was little time left on the clock," explained Kim.

By perfectly timing his attack, Rojas was able to remain onside and create a one-on-one opportunity for himself.

Once Whiddon committed himself to the play by leaving the net, Rojas flicked the ball with the outside of his right foot just over the Titan netminder for the game-winning goal, his second tally of the game.

"I feel like the best team on the field won today and we gave it our all throughout the match. We kept fighting and came back and won it with 24 seconds left," stated Rojas.

Fresh from their come-from-behind victory, the Matadors will travel to UC Davis to face the Big West Conference-leading Aggies this Wednesday. Matador fans can follow all the action on-line by visiting the Men's Soccer schedule page, and clicking on the Gametracker logo. Kick-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.