Sporting events seem to get so much more attention when there’s bad blood between the two about to face off. Something about a heated rivalry always catches the attention of the fans.
It is present in every sport. In baseball, the Yankees/Red Sox and Dodgers/Giants rivalries are among the most well known. Football features many division rivalries as well as the highly publicized trash-talking matchup between Joey Porter and Jerramy Stevens during last year’s Super Bowl. Boxing promoters use the weigh-ins and press conferences as a way to stir up emotion as well.
On Sept. 27, the CSUN men’s soccer team clearly opened their own heated rivalry. The Matadors hosted the then-No. 19 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos and dismantled them 5-0. What was even more surprising than a nationally-ranked team being defeated by such a large margin was the number of yellow and red cards handed out, as well as ejections.
In all, 37 fouls were called and four players were ejected in the match. Verbal confrontations and trash-talking erupted on the field. Luckily, that was as far as it went.
The Gauchos in all had three players ejected in the game. The first two CSUN goals were a result of penalty kicks.
Perhaps the Gauchos were still upset about falling to the Matadors in the playoffs last season. Whatever the reason, the Matadors defended their turf. Ultimately, the Matadors managed to keep their cool in the right situations to help them come away with the win.
The UCSB’s Daily Nexus reported head coach Tim Vom Steeg criticizing the officiating, adding that nothing surprises him when he comes to Northridge.
Vom Steeg seems to have taken more time creating excuses after the game than he did preparing for it. Twenty-two fouls and three ejections by the Gauchos is something that can’t be blamed on bad officiating.
He’ll have one month to prepare for the next meeting. The Matadors travel to Santa Barbara for a rematch in less than a month.
Maybe this is what CSUN athletics needs to attract the fans.