Men’s soccer makes it two in a row with 3-0 victory at tournament

Alonso Tacanga

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Northridge head coach Terry Davila can be hard to please. His Matadors sure are getting closer to achieving the goal, though.

Behind a balanced attack, the Matadors (2-1-0) put on their best offensive showing of the young season, something Davila had said was the team’s main goal, and defeated CSU Bakersfield 3-0 on Friday at Titan Stadium. The game was the first of two they played as participants of the CSU Fullerton Tournament.

‘We’re still a work in progress,’ said Davila when asked if CSUN’s offense was considerably better than at the start of the season. ‘We got to get our lines up a little bit higher and start giving more services from the midfield and not from the back line as much.’

The Roadrunners got off to a terrible start right away. They were left with 10 men just eight minutes into the game after forward Ken Taylor was thrown out for a late tackle and then stepping on CSUN’s Robert Pate’s legs while he was on the ground.

Taylor left with a red card. Pate continued to play and, eight minutes later, assisted forward Camilo Rojas for the afternoon’s first score. Rojas inserted the ball from 10 yards out.

‘Pate saw me as I made a deep run and we made eye-to-eye contact before he passed the ball,’ said Rojas, commenting on the play that initiated his goal. ‘It initially hit off the head of a defender, so when I did get the ball, I wanted to take it to the near post for the shot.’

The early goal was just the beginning of the end for the shorthanded Roadrunners. Twelve minutes later, Northridge went up 2-0. Forward Cameron Sims headed in a ball off a cross from midfielder Sunghyun Kim and beat goalkeeper Steve Trojanowski to extend the Matador advantage to two. Thirty minutes into the game, CSU Bakersfield was clearly less than CSUN in every way.

The Matadors went into halftime leading comfortably and it didn’t take them long to add to that advantage as well. Moy Gomez, yet another forward, scored the third and final goal for CSUN at the five-minute second half mark from 15 yards out. CSU Bakersfield didn’t even threaten thereafter.

Davila was pleased with his designated offensive players taking care of the scoring in this one.

‘We had all three forwards score and that’s a positive,’ said the coach. ‘It’s good for their confidence.’

Statistically speaking, the Matadors have improved their offense gradually with the passing of each game. They didn’t score in their first game; had two goals in the second; and topped that against the Roadrunners. It wasn’t lack of opportunities, though. It was effectiveness. That’s been the difference.

‘(They had) good service into their goals and put away their chances,’ said Davila, speaking of the team’s forwards. ‘They had the same chances against Georgetown and Alabama (A’amp;M) and this time they put them away.’

CSUN out-shot CSU Bakersfield 13-8, with six of those being on goal. The Roadrunners pretty much gave Northridge goalkeeper Kevin Guppy an afternoon off as he only needed to make a save per half to keep his net clear of goals. Guppy and the defensive line have only allowed one score in three games.

‘They’ve been consistent,’ Davila said of his defensive players. ‘I’m very proud of them.’

CSUB defender Wayne Lampart had three shots while teammate forward Matt Shaxton had two. Trojanowski, despite allowing three goals, had three saves before turning goalkeeping duties over to substitute Marcos Topolos.

Northridge also played their second and last game of the tournament on Sunday against UNLV.

This week, the Matadors will go east and play in the UW-Milwaukee Tournament, competition where they’ll face the University of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee. The games are scheduled for Friday and Sunday.

The Matadors hope their offense will reel in more wins, and make Davila proud.