How it all ended for the men’s soccer team

Alonso Tacanga

It was hard to watch the Matadors on Saturday against UC Irvine at home. They knew it was do or die. They could have won the championship if they won. Instead, they weren’t playing their best soccer. They were being dominated.

I had a feeling the Anteaters were going to score. Let’s face it. The way CSUN was playing, they didn’t deserve to win it. Then it happened. UC Irvine got the 1-0 after what looked like a push on goalkeeper Kevin Guppy (I mean, either that or he went out to catch butterflies). The ball bounced in front of the goal line and Guppy was nowhere close. It was lucky, but if anyone deserved to be up that was UCI.

Then CSUN began to lose its head. They recurred to fouling to stop the ‘Eaters. Jeremy Hohn once again couldn’t control himself and left the Matadors with 10 men after he was shown a red card, his second in conference play. Weird enough, that’s when the Matadors began to attack.

With 10 men in the second half, CSUN started to assert itself on the offensive side. After a couple of failed tries by Cameron Sims, Camilo Rojas put in the tie. It was euphoria. Rojas seriously didn’t know where to run to celebrate. All of his teammates tried to get a hold of him to knock him down, hug him, I don’t know. It was a moment to remember.

And then, just two minutes from the end, another moment to remember took place. This short guy with long hair took the ball from midfield and juked all 10 Matadors, Head Coach Terry Davila, his assistants and about five fans who came out to try to tackle him (Ok I’m kidding, it was actually just about four Matadors). Irving Garcia (that was the guy’s name) just wasn’t gonna be stopped. He took it all the way into the box and could have probably gone into the net if he wanted, but instead he passed it back to some other dude to score the game-winner…

It was amazing. It reminded me of a play from the Peru – Argentina game from early September this year in which Juan Vargas took it from his own end of the field in the absolute LAST PLAY and just wouldn’t be stopped by anyone. He then threw a pass to a sliding Peruvian forward for the dramatic tie (check it out on youtube, it’s really great if you’re a soccer lover, or if you don’t like Argentina).

The sadness came after…all the Matadors were just on the ground with their faces either buried in the grass or looking up to the skies as if asking “Why? All we’ve been through just so it ends like this?” It was tough to watch. Even if you’re not a fan, it gets to you. But that’s how sports are. It can get very cruel sometimes.

 There were tears after. There were assistant coaches picking players up from the ground. There were also hugs. It was a somber day, and not just weather-wise.

Recapping: It sucked. But it was a day to remember. The Matadors fought against injuries and all types of obstacles all season long so there’s no shame in not making this postseason. It’s a damn shame, though. That’s for sure.