The Cal State Northridge women’s soccer team tied USC 2-2 in its second and final preseason game on Sunday at Matador Soccer Field.
In a long game that consisted of two 40-minute halves, followed by a 35-minute exhibition period, the two teams were both scoreless after the first half.
USC’s Lauren Brown scored in the 48th minute, breaking the scoreless tie. Shortly after USC took the 1-0 lead, Trojan defender Meagan Holmes had a chance to stretch the lead, but her hard shot just barely missed, hitting the right post and bouncing back onto the field.
Moments later, the Matadors struck back and tied the score 1-1 on a breakaway shot by freshman forward Salma Tarik from just inside the box.
After a penalty was called on USC’s Holmes for grabbing the jersey of CSUN’s freshman midfielder Erin Kelly, the Matadors were awarded a free kick from outside the box on the right side. The penalty proved costly for Holmes and the rest of the Trojans, as Kelly’s kick was headed into the goal by junior defender Nalena Betancourt, giving the Matadors a 2-1 lead heading into the exhibition period.
The Matadors did their best to hold the lead, but USC had one more charge left in them. A penalty committed by the Matadors led to a free kick for the Trojans. The kick, taken by Ashli Sandoval, sailed into the box and into a huddle of players. The Trojans’ Kelley Finch got her foot on the ball and redirected it past CSUN freshman goalie Ivette Esqueda, tying the game at 2-2.
All 31 Matador players that were available for the exhibition game played. Head coach Keith West said the game gave him a good look at all of his players and it will be very tough to downsize the roster to just 20 players before the season opens.
“I’m extremely excited about every player out here,” West said.
The team’s comeback, after being down 1-0, was enough to make West happy about the way his team played throughout the game, he said.
“This team showed a fight and a spirit that was incredible” West said. “After being down a goal, to come back tells a lot about the character of this team.”
The CSUN Matadors open their regular season on the road on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. against Oregon State. Their first home game will be played on Sept. 14 against Baylor at 4 p.m.on the Matador Soccer Field.
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