Men’s Soccer: Senior defenders solidifying backline

    Defense wins championships.

    Senior defender Joe Franco fends off a Cal State Fullerton defender last season. This season Franco and Co. have shutout opponents seven times.

    A moniker that any team, in any sport, can live by and be successful.

    So far this season, the Matadors’ men’s soccer team has proven that a solid backline can indeed guide a team to success.

    The trio of senior defenders, including Joe Franco, Armando Gutierrez, and Yuval Barak have started all of CSUN’s 14 games and have held all opponents to nine goals in those matches, including seven shutout victories on the year.

    These defensive specialists not only halt any opposing scoring opportunities but have also helped on the offensive half.

    Barak has five assists for CSUN while Franco has an assist and a goal on seven shots. Gutierrez has added four shots while Franco has put up seven shots of his own.

    Currently ranked No. 20 in the nation and on top of the Big West Conference’s southern division at 4-1, CSUN has won eight of its last nine games by a combined score of 20-3.

    Northridge held UC Davis’ potent offense scoreless in a 2-0 victory on Sept. 28 in both team’s Big West opener. Since, the Aggies have gone on a tear, winning their next four conference matches by a combined score of 6-2, flexing their line-up’s muscles.

    The Matadors’ only loss in conference play this year came at the hands of Sacramento State and their undefeated line-up on Sept. 30 in a double overtime, 1-0 thriller.

    CSUN has since overpowered its opponents and are currently on a three-game win streak heading into a three-game road trip facing the likes of Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and UC Riverside, who are a combined 2-12-1 in Big West play.