After the thrilling CSUN women’s soccer game Sunday, which debuted the newly installed lights at Matador Field, the men’s soccer team is eager to showcase its talents under the lights with an exhibition game Friday night against San Diego State University.
Among attendance of the record-breaking crowd at Sunday’s game, which was the first night soccer game played under lighting at CSUN since 2001, was the men’s soccer team. They witnessed firsthand the excitement of nighttime soccer at CSUN.
“After seeing the lights, we’re going to show what we can do,” team captain Joe Franco said.
Although Friday’s matchup against the Aztecs is only an exhibition match, Northridge is itching to be the first team to get a win under the bright lights after the Matador women lost 2-1 to No. 5 Portland in their home opener.
“We want to start the season off right,” Franco said. “We have high expectations and we want to get a win.”
The match will also be an opportunity for players to make a case for a starting spot on the roster and to build team chemistry. The new players will get a chance to play under the team system before their regular season debut Wednesday.
When asked about what he hopes the team can achieve with its exhibition game, head coach Terry Davila would not give away too much, simply stating that he hopes the team “can implement the game plan on offense and on defense.”
However, for junior forward Camilo Rojas, who redshirted last year, the matchup against San Diego State will be much more than just another tuneup game. Rojas will get an opportunity to get back onto the field for the first time in more than a year.
With a return to the familiar confines of Matador Field and the welcomed debut of the unfamiliar lights, Rojas hopes he can help the Matadors by providing his fair share of the workload on offense.
An emotional Rojas added that he would enjoy being the first to score a goal for his team, and if it were to happen under the electric environment of the newly installed lights, it would be “picture perfect.”
“Hopefully we can take the game to the next level and more people will come out to see the game,” Rojas said. “It’s going to be intense.”
Both the Matadors and Aztecs are projected to finish fourth in their respective conference. Last season, San Diego State finished fourth in the Pac 10, going 3-4-3 in conference play and 6-6-6 overall.
Returning for the Aztecs is leading scorer senior Raymoundo Reza, who had 6 goals and 16 points. In the net returns senior Brad Byrns, who played all but two games and had 71 saves.
The Aztecs received 12 more fouls than their opponents but were very aggressive in shooting at net with 22 shots more.