Two minutes was all it took for the Matadors’ season-best three-game winning streak to come to an end.
Wisconsin forward Victor Diaz and midfielder Kenny Dix scored back-to-back goals, CSUN wasn’t even able to cut into the lead despite out-shooting its rivals and counting with one more player, and the Matadors’ winning trend was temporarily put to rest with a 2-0 loss to the Badgers in the first game of the UW-Milwaukee Tournament.
CSUN was led in attack once again by forward Cameron Sims and attempted 19 shots in contrast to Wisconsin’s 10. Sims had four of those and forward Moy Gomez had three, with two of those coming on goal. None of that mattered, however, as a Badger two-minute outburst of efficacy doomed Northridge.
The Matadors and Badgers had traded opportunities to open the scoring, but remained even in the second half. Northridge had attempted more shots, but Wisconsin had clearer chances. In the 60th minute, Diaz made it crystal clear that his Badgers would not squander all occasions.
Diaz found a gift in the form of a Matador turnover on their own end of the field and used it to beat goalkeeper Kevin Guppy up high from 10 yards out to start the scoring for the Badgers. Wisconsin didn’t waste any time – just two minutes to be exact – to add to its lead as moments later Dix took a cross off a Pablo Delgado and Brandon Miller combo pass at Guppy’s far post and put it in for the fast, shocking two-goal turnaround.
Northridge had only allowed one goal in their previous four games.
Down 2-0, Northridge looked to shorten the lead. They got a little help in the 74th minute after Wisconsin midfielder Austin Spohn received his second yellow card of the game, gaining a red card and an ejection. With the 11-10 man-advantage, the Matadors threw themselves on offense.
Logically, the Badgers also shifted their focus. Outnumbered as it was, Wisconsin retracted its lines and began to defend. The Badgers knew what the Northridge offense was capable of doing. The Matadors had scored seven total goals in their previous three outings. The tactic paid off as CSUN had chances, but wasn’t able to mount the comeback.
The Matadors had an overwhelming 13-7 shot advantage in the second half and forced Wisconsin goalkeeper Alex Horwath to make two sensational saves. Guppy also had two saves in the half.
Wisconsin came into the game as the favorite: unbeaten, playing on someone else’s field but in its home state and being ranked No.21 in the nation by Soccer America magazine. They had also received votes from the NSCAA/adidas coaches’ poll; beat No. 20 Santa Clara; and had Delgado be named Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Week. The Badgers’ ranking should only go up after their victory over the Matadors.
The Badgers had five corner kicks while the Matadors had none. Three Northridge players saw a yellow card: Sims and defenders Nicholas Hamilton and Chad Borak. For Wisconsin, besides Spohn’s ejection, Horwarth and defender Zack Lambo were reprimanded with yellow cards.
The Matadors also had a game on Sunday against tournament host UW-Milwaukee. With the win, Wisconsin remained unbeaten for the season. They had a date on Sunday against Binghamton, who tied 0-0 against the host, however.