With temperatures hovering in the triple digits, the Matador offense was scorching hot as they obtained their first victory of the season in a 4-0 win Sunday against Air Force at Matador Field.
“We’re going to play a little bit better,” Matador head coach Terry Davila told the CSUN athletic department after the game. “We’re starting to become a unit and we’re starting to understand our roles. We’re getting confident.”
After being outshot 8-3 by Air Force (2-5-0) in the first period, the Matadors (1-6-1) more than doubled their season goal total with a four-goal explosion in the second half.
The first goal of the game came just 35 seconds into the second half off an opportune misplayed pass from a Falcon defender to his goalkeeper, Matt Underwood. A hard charging forward Camilo Rojas then corralled the ball and placed the ball in the back of an empty net.
The second goal of the match came in the 59th minute off the foot of freshman midfielder Alberto Rosas. Team captain Rafael Garcia sailed a pass over the entire Falcon defense, leading teammate Rosas to a one-on-one matchup with the keeper. Once Rosas was alone with the Falcon goalie, Underwood was forced to make the first move and Rosas easily curled the shot around the keeper for his first collegiate goal.
“It was great,” Rosas said about celebrating the second goal of the match. “I didn’t know where to run. I got lightheaded. It was my first goal of my college career.”
Northridge seemed to have rhythm offensively against Air Force as the third goal came just four minutes after the second. Defender Jeremy Hohn set up a pass from forward Mattias Bonvehi to midfielder Rene Anguiano, who eventually scored his first goal of the season.
Not to be outshined by the offense, the Matador defense also performed well, with goalie Michael Abalos recording his second shutout of the season. The Matador defense held the Falcons to just two shots on goal, even though CSUN was outshot 16-12 throughout the game.
The final goal of the match fittingly came from freshman forward Sam Ball, the team leader in goals, in the 79th minute.
About the only thing that went wrong for the Matadors was a confrontation in the 51st minute which led to the ejection of Rojas. The confrontation occurred as Rojas and Underwood collided in midair as both players fought for possession of the ball. Tempers flared as players on both sides gathered around the two. When officials gained control of the situation, they also ejected Falcon defender Eric Tise.
“I hate that part of the game,” Davila said. “There is no place for that in soccer. Unfortunately, we had a player suspended and so did they.”
The ejection raises concerns about the team’s discipline, as the red card on Rojas was the third red card received by a Matador in as many games.
Northridge chose a good time to show they can put it all together, as it was the team’s final non-conference game before the start of the Big West season.
Sunday was the first time the Matadors have played at home in more than 25 days. Northridge had come off a six-game road trip in which they were outscored 12-3.
CSUN will now have six days to prepare for its inaugural conference game Saturday against Cal State Fullerton.