With a two-game winning streak the CSUN men’s soccer team (2-6-1, 1-0) will try to break free from a Cal Poly (4-3-1, 1-0) stranglehold when they travel to San Luis Obispo today.
The Matadors have not won a match against the Mustangs since 2005 and have a record 0-3-3 against them since.
“I think it’ll be one of the biggest challenges for us in conference,” said freshman midfielder Alberto Rosas about traveling to San Luis Obispo. “I know probably everybody expects us to go up there and get killed by them. But everybody expected the same thing when we played Fullerton, who beat Santa Barbara. We went into Fullerton and basically destroyed them 3-0. We expect to do the same thing to Cal Poly just go at them and work hard.”
After an unimpressive 0-6-1 start the Matadors are playing their best soccer of the season as they have dominated their last two opponents and have outscored the competition 7-0, with a 30-21 shot advantage during that span.
“Probably the biggest difference has been the work ethic, We’ve been working constantly trying to get better every single day and we’ve shown it. Rosas said. “After scoring seven goals with no goals against in our last two games I think is a big improvement from when we were getting scored on every game at least two goals.”
With a win against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday to open up Big West play, the Matadors have also proven that they can attain a win on the road this year.
The Mustangs come into tonights matchup with a two-game winning streak of their own, attaining a 2-1 victory against Cal State Bakersfield and an overtime 1-0 win against UC Riverside in their first game of the Big West Season.
Another similarity between the two teams going into the game is both teams have players that were named Big West player of Week.
CSUN’s midfielder Gustavo Villalobos, who is coming off a two goal one assist performance on Saturday was named Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Villalobos is tied for second on the team in both goals with two and with 20 shots.
Although Villalobo’s first goal of the season came in the ninth game of the season, he has consistently been one of the Matador’s biggest offensive threats throughout the season.
Villalobos is one of three Matadors that has started in all nine games. Sophomore midfielder Rene Anguiano and team captain defender Joe Franco are the other two.
For the Mustangs, sophomore goalie Brett Finkelstein was named Big West Defensive player of the Week.
Finkelstein has yielded just one goal and garnered 11 saves in 181 minutes of play and registered his first shutout against UC Riverside on Saturday.
The Mustangs and Matadors have played the same two opponents, Air Force and Loyola Marymount. While the Matadors split the series going 1-1, the Mustangs went winless against those teams.
For the Mustangs, who were projected to finish third in the Big West, the biggest win of the season came in 1-0 victory against No. 18 Indiana.
Tonights game against the Mustangs will be the eight road game in the Matador’s last nine games.
Players to watch
Rafael Garcia-Garcia is a junior midfielder and one of the leaders of the team. As a team captain it is his responsibility to get the team prepared to face a tough Cal Poly team on the road. He is the team leader in shots with 21 and also leads the team assist with three.
David Zamora-Senior forward Zamora is the driving force behind the Mustang offense. He is the team leader in assists with a total of four and leads the team in shots by a wide margin with a total of 22.