The Big West Conference opener resulted in a big win for the Matadors (4-4-1) as they powered through UC Davis, 3-0, Wednesday afternoon at Aggie Soccer Field.
The victory was CSUN’s first against the Aggies (2-5-2)in almost six years.
Co-captain Rafael Garcia made sure the Matadors came away with the win. By pushing Davis to make critical mistakes, Garcia was able to capitalize, CSUN head coach Terry Davila said.
“They got behind us, that’s why they fouled us,” Davila said. “It wasn’t mistakes, we got behind them and force them to trip us.”
Davis gave up two penalty kicks to CSUN, the first in the 68th minute and the other in the 76th. Both shots were taken by Garcia, and he scored on both attempts.
Aggie goalkeeper Omar Zeenni fouled midfielder Thomas Ramos, who scored the opening goal four minutes into the match, resulting in the second penalty kick and a yellow card shown to the goalie.
“(Ramos) earned us two penalty kicks and I stepped up and tucked them in,” Garcia said. “I thought that was the easy part. (Ramos) is the one that worked for both of them.”
Ramos’ score set the tone early for the Matadors. CSUN midfielder Rene Anguiano ran the ball up the right sideline and crossed it to the midfielder, who put the ball in the net from six yards out.
Offense was on CSUN’s mind the entire match. The team came out shooting, tallying nine shots in the first half. Ramos led the way with his goal and had another shot attempt in the half. Five Matadors had shot attempts before the end of the first half.
“Our objective was to put our will upon them,” Davila said.
CSUN finished the game with 16 shots, five on goal, while Davis finished with nine shots, two on goal.
“From the very beginning, we got after them,” Garcia said. “And (Ramos) again came through and tucked one in for us, and after that we got a lot of confidence and started attacking and taking over the game. From then on it was pretty much our game.”
Matador goalkeeper Michael Abalos had two saves. His teammates on defense helped by blocking and deflecting shots.
Another indicator of CSUN pushing offensively was their offside count. The Matadors had five offside calls, indicating their over-aggressiveness caught them out of position too often.
It was a physical game between the teams with CSUN accumulating 15 fouls and Davis having 13. The Aggies had four players receive yellow cards. The Matadors also had their share of cards, with Ramos and forward Edwin Rivas written up.
Davis came close to tying the match in the 47th minute, but Aggie midfielder Elliot Hord’s shot hit the post.
Defensively, the Matadors were able to keep Davis in check, only allowing them to get two shots off in the first half. In the second half, however, the Aggies showed a sense of urgency and took seven more shots.
The Matadors come back home to face Cal State Fullerton Saturday at 7 p.m. in their second Big West match.