The UC Riverside men’s soccer team walked into Matador Soccer Field at CSU Northridge Saturday, Oct. 13 hoping to right the ship on their unimpressive 1-3-0 record in Big West Conference play, and to end a two game losing streak in which the Highlanders dropped 1-0 decisions to UC Davis and Sacramento State.
The Highlanders also entered Saturday’s contest without leading scorers Aaron Long (4 goals, 1 assist) and Ruben Valencia (4 goals), as both were ineligible to play due to being red carded in last week’s match.
CSU Northridge entered Saturday night’s game 4-1 at home and 3-1 in conference play, emerging victorious in seven of their last eight games, including an impressive road win against #8 ranked UC Santa Barbara last week.
The Matadors came out firing in the opening seconds of the game, playing at a high tempo on their way to racking up three shots in the first eight minutes of play.
30 minutes into the first half, a bloody head to head collision occurred between UCR forward Ulises Mosqueda and Northridge midfielder Trevor Morley, which resulted in a yellow card for Mosqueda and sent Morley to the hospital for stitches. Both players did not return to action.
A relatively uneventful first half saw the Highlanders outshot by the Matadors 9-4 and both teams had one shot on goal. There was a one on one opportunity for UCR forward Jimmy Martinez that was saved by Northridge goalkeeper Michael Abalos at the 13 minute mark. The Matadors enjoyed a strong performance from sophomore forward Edwin Rivas, who led both teams with six shots and was all over the field throughout the match.
The second half of the contest netted the first score of the game when the Matadors took a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute. The score occurred when Yuval Barack drifted a touch pass on a penalty kick to Chris Smith, whose shot curled over the wall of the net and under Khosravi for his first goal of the season.
The Highlanders answered Smith’s goal 19 minutes later on a penalty kick goal by Julio Reyes that came on a yellow card given to Northridge defenseman Mynor Giron. Both teams were held scoreless to the end of the 90 minutes of regulation time, as well as the first 10-minutes of the overtime period, even though the Highlanders had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds of the first overtime on a header by Leslie Hayden that just hit the goalpost.
The second overtime period seemed to have ended as quickly as it begun. Three minutes and thirteen seconds in, a corner kick by Yuval Barack found Carlos Benavides who passed to a waiting Rene Anguiano at the top of the box, who then lasered the ball right into the net, and through the hearts of the eleven Highlanders who fought for 103 minutes and 13 seconds only to just fall short.
The Highlanders will lick their wounds and hope that a three game home stand delivers better fortune as they prepare to face UC Irvine this Wednesday October 17.