Santa Barbara exacts revenge on CSUN

Ivan Yeo

The backs of the CSUN men’s soccer team are now officially against the wall.

The Matadors dropped their third straight contest, this time to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, 1-0 at Harder Stadium Oct. 25. Eric Avila provided the difference maker in the game, as his goal in the 27th minute gave the Gauchos the advantage it fed off the entire night, as the Gauchos held on for their fourth straight win despite being out shot 15-11, including a 12-3 Matador advantage in the second half.

“We did everything we could, but we didn’t get the result we wanted,” head coach Terry Davila said. “We created enough shots to win the game, I don’t know what to say.”

Santa Barbara’s goal came when Bryan Byrne had the ball at the right side of Matador territory. Byrne dribbled the ball off a Matador defender and quickly raced toward the goal. Byrne then sent a low cross just as the ball was heading out of bounds to Avila who fired a shot that beat Guppy at the right post for a 1-0 Santa Barbara lead.

Santa Barbara had the first shot attempt five minutes into the game. David Walker had the ball at the left side of the Matador net, and sent a low cross intended for Bongomin Otii inside the box, but goalkeeper Kevin Guppy slid in front of Otii and cut off the pass. The Gauchos threatened moments later when Otii led a charge, sending a pass to Avila, who shot the ball past Guppy, but the ball just rolled off to the left.

The Gauchos continued to put pressure on the CSUN defense. Another shot attempt by Avila was saved by Guppy, then Andrew Proctor won a loose ball and broke toward the box. Proctor lobbed a shot from the right that just sailed over the goal.

Santa Barbara’s best shot though, came midway toward the first half. The Gauchos had the ball deep inside Matador territory and Chris Pontius won a 50-50 ball inside the CSUN box and fired a shot that deflected off Guppy, but the ball went to Proctor, who had a good look at the net, but Proctor instead shot way high over the post.

The Matadors caught a bad break during the middle stages of the first half, as defender Chad Borak and midfielder Devin Deldo suffered leg injuries and did not return to the game.

CSUN had one good chance to tie the game toward the end of the half. Midfielder Dylan Riley sent a long pass to forward Michael Clegg, who then gave the ball up to forward Ryan Rossi as he headed for the goal, but Gaucho goalkeeper Kyle Reynish left his goal line and successfully defended the shot.

The Matadors tried desperately to get back into the game. A Santa Barbara foul set up a free kick inside Gaucho territory. Taylor Canel fired the ball into the Gaucho box. The ball was headed up in the air by Fergie Agwu and Matt Tracy went in and headed the ball toward the goal, but instead went over the goalpost.

The final 10 minutes saw the Matadors get tons of chances, as the Gauchos were whistled for 16 fouls in the second half, several of which resulted in yellow cards. The best chance for CSUN to extend the game beyond regulation came in the 84th minute. A free kick by the Matadors resulted in a total of four shot attempts, though neither one was able to cross the goal line. Tracy had the first look, but his shot was blocked by the Gaucho defense. Ensuing shot attempts by Canel and forward Sunghyun Kim were also blocked and a second attempt by Canel sailed over the goalpost.

“We got unlucky around the box, which has been the story of our season so far,” Canel said.”

CSUN had another chance late in the game, as another Canel free kick glanced off a wall of Gaucho defenders before going out of bounds. The ensuing corner kick went to Rossi, but his shot attempt went off Reynish.

“We did everything right, except the ball didn’t go in the back of the net for us,” defender Sean Franklin said.

CSUN’s loss now means there is no room for error as they head down the home stretch. CSUN must win its final three games to have a shot at its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA College Cup Tournament. Fortunately, those last three games are at Matador Soccer field, starting with Cal State Fullerton this past Saturday. Information regarding that game will be available in tomorrow’s edition of the Daily Sundial. The Matadors will host the Oregon State Beavers today at 1 p.m. before closing out the season against the UC Irvine Anteaters on Nov. 4.

“We’re gonna keep going,” Canel said. “With three games left, we’ll try to get three wins and see what happens.”