With a header in the 90th minute, midfielder Yardun Azulay and the Matadors drove the nail in the coffin against Missouri State, as CSUN (2-2) opened the TLC Lobo Invitational with a 3-0 win over the winless Bears (0-4) Friday afternoon.
Azulay, a freshman, scored his second goal of the season 52 seconds from the end of regulation. Midfielder Chris Smith picked up his second assist of the game in the play.
Defender Taylor Bowlin netted the opening goal of the game in the 23rd minute via Smith’s first assist of the match.
Both teams came out shooting early in the match. CSUN and Missouri State had two shots each within the first 20 minutes of the game. Despite the Matadors striking first, the Bears had three shots on goal at the half, edging out CSUN by two.
Matador goalkeeper Michael Abalos was put through his paces in the first half. The junior had two saves roughly two minutes apart early in the match, coming up with a total of three saves by halftime. Abalos finished the game with four saves and his first shutout of the season.
Despite the comfortable win, CSUN head coach Terry Davila was mostly concerned about his team’s fouling rate.
“We still fouled too much. There was a lack of discipline when fouling,” said Davila, who had called his team “reckless” after it had accumulated 48 fouls over its past two games. “We have to improve on our maturity on those fouls.”
In the first half, the Matadors had seven fouls and saw one yellow card, shown to midfielder Thomas Ramos right at the end of the first 45 minutes. The stat repeated itself in the second half as CSUN ended the game with 14 fouls and two yellow cards.
The second goal of the game came from forward Edwin Rivas in the 63rd minute. Rivas, who was assisted by Ramos, put a low bullet to the right of the net as CSUN went up 2-0
By the end of the match, the Matadors had 10 shots, with six on goal. Missouri State followed closely with 11 shots, four on goal.
Azulay could have had himself a multi-scoring day, but his penalty kick in the 47th minute was saved by Bears’ goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg.
CSUN is looking to take the win and use it against tournament host New Mexico Sunday.
“(New Mexico) is a very good team. They’re on Akron’s level,” said Davila, recalling the match against the defending national champion Zips, whom CSUN lost to, 2-1, in overtime on Saturday. “We’re very excited to have an opportunity to play against New Mexico.”