CSUN men’s soccer unafraid of UCLA

Raul Magana

After a devastating 4-0 loss to conference rival UC Santa Barbara on the road and the season coming to a close, CSUN looks to get a signature win against soccer powerhouse No. 11 UCLA at home tonight.

With only two wins this season for the Matadors (2-11-2, 1-5-1 Big West) it’s safe to say things aren’t going as expected. However, for all the misfortunes the team has endured Northridge is unafraid of the test against one of the best teams in the West Coast.

“It’s nothing we haven’t seen before,” team captain Joe Franco said. “We played against No.1 Akron at Akron and we played against Irvine, who beat Cal State Fullerton 7-2 and had seven different players score a goal for them.”

UCLA (10-4-1, 5-2-1 Pac-10) is traditionally one of the best teams in collegiate soccer. However, if the Matadors have anything to look forward to tonight is that they have recently been competitive against the Bruins.

The Matadors lead the series 1-0-3 against the Bruins over the last four years and the last time Northridge lost to the Bruins was a 3-1 loss on the road in the 2004 season.

“The game against UCLA is going to be exciting,” Franco said. “They are a quality team and ranked third on the West Coast but we always compete very well against them and if we get the fans out hopefully we’ll get the win.”

Still, 11 losses during the season will take its toll on anybody and with each loss the Matadors are finding it constantly harder to find motivation from anywhere but within.

“Its hard to deal with so many losses,” Franco said. “But we as players keep each other motivated, we have teammates to feed off their energy.”

The Matadors are currently on a five-game losing streak. They are coming off their most lopsided defeat of the season, a 4-0 loss against Santa Barbara, which is one of the most hostile environments in college soccer.

“It was a tough loss against Santa Barbara,” midfielder Rene Anguiano said. “We just have to keep our head up, move forward and just finish the season.”

With the loss the Matadors remain sixth in the conference with four points. The only team in the conference with less points is UC Riverside, tallying three points in a win against Fullerton.

As for the Bruins, they are once again one of the best teams in the nation and were ranked as high as No. 5 in preseason coaches’ polls. A large part of their success is due to a great crop of young talent, who lead the Bruins offensively and are no strangers to the big stage.

All but one of the 21 goals for the Bruins this season has been scored by either a freshman or a sophomore. Freshmen sensations Kelyn Rowe and Victor Chavez lead the team with a combined 11 goals and nine assist on team and both have been members of the U.S Under-18 National Team.

 The Bruins are coming off their first home loss of the season, a 1-0 overtime defeat to No.12 California. Despite outshooting Cal with a 25-13 margin the only goal of the game came off the foot of Golden Bear Davis Paul in the 99th minute of action.

With the goal, Cal not only managed to win the game but it also secured them sole possession of the Pac-10 Conference. The Bruins are second in the conference, just one point behind California with 15 points.