For the fifth time this season, the CSUN men’s soccer team played to a tie, this time scoreless even after two overtime periods in their match against the UC Riverside Highlanders on Oct. 14 at UCR Soccer Stadium.
It is the second time this season that the Matadors and the Highlanders have tied – their match on Sept. 20 resulted in a 1-1 tie.
The good news for CSUN is because they didn’t lose, their unbeaten streak is now at eight games. The bad news is that because they didn’t win, they are no longer the sole holder of first place in the Big West. It should come as no surprise that the Matadors are tied for first place with UC Santa Barbara.
“I’d rather be tied for first place than be in second place,” head coach Terry Davila said.
The Matadors’ record now stands at 3-0-3 in Big West Conference play and 5-3-5 overall. The Highlanders are now at 4-8-2 overall and 1-3-2 in the conference.
“We weren’t as sharp as we could have been,” Davila said. He said that the team needs to be more consistent up front, but he said that they are trying.
The lack of goals wasn’t a lack of attempts. The Matadors took 21 shots in the game, compared to nine by the Highlanders. CSUN launched an offensive attack immediately, with midfielder Fergie Agwu taking a shot in the first 35 seconds of the game. Agwu’s shot was blocked and less than two minutes later, the Highlanders took their first shot when midfielder Xavier Perez launched a shot from about 35 yards out, sending it over the top of the goal.
Both teams sent plenty of shots over the crossbar. Riverside midfielder Doug Thrasher took a long shot in the seventh minute that went over the top of the goal. Shots by Perez in the 46th minute and a nice volley by midfielder Andrew Hills in the 54th minute were also high.
For CSUN, midfielder Devin Deldo sent a pass to midfielder Adrian Lopez, who sent his shot over the top of the goal in the 10th minute. Deldo took a direct kick that he launched over the crossbar in the 17th minute. Shots by midfielder Brian Siu in the 34th minute and forward Sunghyun Kim in the 49th minute both went over the top of the goal.
Kim and Deldo led the Matadors in shots with three each. Midfielders Ben Cox, Agwu, Dylan Riley and Ryan Rossi each had two shots in the game. For the Highlanders, Perez led the team with two shots.
For a team that has been very successful in using set pieces to score goals, the Matadors had plenty of opportunities to score during the match. CSUN had eight corner kicks in the game, while Riverside had only one more chance with the game winding down.
Deldo took the first corner kick for the Matadors, sending the ball into the box where Hanks headed the ball toward the goal. Riverside’s Thrasher saved the goal by heading the ball out. CSUN immediately had another corner, with Deldo this time sending the ball on the ground to Kim, whose shot just missed, hitting the left post.
In the 95th minute, Kim sent a corner into the box where Riley headed the ball over the crossbar.
CSUN’s defense was formidable, with some key plays ensuring that the Highlanders remained scoreless. In the first half, Riverside’s Hills sent a ball up to Villalobos, but CSUN defender Tracy stepped in to break it up. Riverside’s Oliver also sent a ball to Villalobos, but this time Franklin was there to break up the play.
In the second half, Tracy stopped an offensive attack by Riverside’s Oliver and Crompton. Later, Riverside forward Jeremy Clay made a break up the field, but was also stopped by Tracy.
In the 59th minute, defender Nathan Paterson sent a pass to forward Michael Galland, who was breaking up the right side of the field until Tracy sprinted over and slid the ball out of play.
Franklin showed up everywhere and seemed to try everything to help get things started. He moved the ball up to Dylan Riley, who sent a ball into the box, just missing the head of Agwu. Franklin again sent the ball up, this time to Kim, who passed to Agwu, who took a shot that missed to the left of the goal. Franklin sent another ball through to Kim, but his shot was saved by Alamo.
In the first overtime period, Franklin continued to be involved, taking a shot that was blocked and sending passes to Agwu on one attack and to Rossi on another. In the second overtime period, Franklin crossed the ball into Borak, who fed it to Rossi for a shot that was saved by Alamo.
Alamo recorded four saves in the game and the Highlanders made two team saves. Matador goalkeeper Kevin Guppy had one save in the match.
“We played well and we dominated, we just couldn’t connect,” Tracy said. “We controlled the whole game. It’s just the last pass killed us today. We just couldn’t put it away.”
Davila said that despite the tie, he thought there were a lot of positives in the game. He said his defensive line played well and that freshman Lue Smith had an outstanding game. He said the team needed to be a little more mature.
“We’re still in control of our own destiny,” Davila said. “We just gotta do it.”
The Matadors will play Cal Poly on Oct. 18 at Matador Soccer Field.