Physical play by California State Fullerton spoiled senior night Wednesday and frustrated the Matadors in a 1-0 loss in a game that could have clinched the Big West South title. Instead the two teams are now tied for 1st place with 14 points each one game remaining.
Diego Sanchez scored the game’s only goal from 12 yards out on the right side of the pitch after a pass from across the field from Mark Hernandez. Reigning defensive player of the week Henrik Regitnig dove to his left but was unable to make the save as the ball bolted under his outstretched hand.
CSUN only managed one shot in the first half and six in the game compared to CSUF who had nine.
“We came out with no focus,” said CSUN coach Terry Davila. “We didn’t play well.”
The most explosive moment of the game came when CSUF midfielder Irving Azuna pulled CSUN’s forward Davis Moreno-Jaime down by the shirt along the sideline in the midfield. Moreno-Jaime retaliated and was ejected after being given a red card forcing CSUN to play with 10 players for the final 15 minutes.
Daniel Trejo had two shots on goal for CSUN and Emmanuel Usen Jr. and Jumoke Hutton had one each. Henrik Regitnig saved three of his four opportunities in the net.
The previous four times CSUN and CSUF faced each other resulted in a tie, including earlier this season. CSUF now holds the tiebreaker if the two teams finish the season with the same number of points.
CSUF plays their final game at home against UC Irvine on Friday and CSUN concludes their regular season at UC Riverside Saturday at 7 p.m. CSUF now holds the tiebreaker over CSUN if the teams finished with the same record.
The top three teams in the division make the playoffs and CSUN has already clinched their place in the Big West tournament. The number one seed receives a first round bye.