Looking to erase any remaining sting from last year’s season-ending loss to UC Irvine at Matador Field, the Northridge men’s squad came into Saturday’s match against the Anteaters hoping to knock them to 0-3 in Big West Conference play.
The results were not what the Matadors were after.
The team took its worst loss of the season at 3-0 and is now faced with a 1-2 record in conference and 6-5-1 overall.
The Matadors came out aggressive on the offensive side of the ball and pressured Irvine’s final third of the field, but just under 10 minutes into the action, they found themselves down 1-0. CSUN went from trying to set the offensive tempo to trying to find the equalizing goal.
In the second half, CSUN banged on the Irvine net on numerous occasions but could not find the back of the net. Five minutes into the second 45, Irvine goalkeeper Victor Chinchilla stopped a point-blank shot from midfielder Rene Anguiano inside the box.
Minutes later, the Matadors were on a three-on-four attack when the ball was passed to forward Cameron Sims on the right wing. With Chinchilla coming far out of his net and straight to Sims, the ball was tapped over the goalie’s reach but veered just to the left of the post.
Both teams shot well and took an equal amount at 14, but it was the Anteater’s shots that found freshman Michael Abalos’ net.
For about 70 minutes, Northridge clawed and scrapped to find the equalizer, but frustration was the word of the match. CSUN was not only denied a friendly bounce on several shots, but was even further disheartened when Irvine forward Spencer Thompson played a pass off his chest beautifully, turned and shot from the edge of the box to take a 2-0 advantage.
Northridge is now 0-4 when trailing by two in a match. Six minutes later, Thompson would add yet another exclamation mark on his team’s first conference win of the season, when he smashed a kick from the right side from about 15 yards out to give Irvine the three goal victory.
“We worked. Unfortunately they put them in the back of the net – we didn’t,” said Sims. “I’m disappointed with myself, not disappointed with the team. We gotta stick to our game plan. You can’t really start changing anything just because you start losing or because you start winning.
“We have to just stay the same Northridge that we are.”
Coach Terry Davila was unavailable for comment after the game.
“We came sharp at the beginning of the game, we conceded a goal early,” said assistant Coach Yossi Raz. “We battled hard and we didn’t quite achieve the results we wanted. There’s a lot of more games in the Big West, and we’re gonna keep fighting until the last one.”