August 20, 2011

Matadors Defeat Cal State Dominguez Hills 5-0 in Preseason Tuneup

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Cal State Northridge Matadors flew out of the gates on Saturday night, scoring two goals in the first 23 minutes en route to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros in a friendly at Matador Soccer Field. Five different Matadors scored and junior defender Joe Franco registered three assists in the contest.

Both teams got out to a fast start trying to figure out each other's style as the Matadors took to the offensive to try to create early chances. The first shot of the match came off the foot of Carlos Benavides, who saw his attempt saved by Toro goalkeeper Markus Dickerson in the sixth minute.

Less than four minutes later, Northridge was able to break onto the scoreboard first following a long throw in from Franco. With a group of players in the box, Franco fired in a throw from the right sideline that found the foot of Thomas Ramos with just the goalkeeper in front of him. Ramos collected the pass and slid the ball behind Dickerson for the game's first goal.

The Matadors kept up the pace by winning balls in the defensive third and sending men forward to attack. Two corner kicks within 40 seconds for CSUN presented more opportunities to score, but to no avail. Looking for an opportunity to net an important second goal, Matador senior midfielder Rafael Garcia booted a ball from distance that struck the left goal post and rebounded to Yuval Barak. Barak then slid a cross on the ground in front of the goal and it was knocked in by Chris Smith to put CSUN ahead 2-0.

Northridge would have more chances at goal in the first half, finding men in space only to be denied by Dickerson in net. At the end of the first half, the Matadors owned a 9-1 advantage in shots and a 2-0 lead.
At the start of the second half the Matadors again got out to a quick start, this time by scoring a goal just seven minutes in. Franco had a hand in the effort again by serving a ball forward to Brian Behrad, whose well-timed header rose over a charging goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Exactly four minutes later the lead was extended again, this time off the head of Luis Gutierrez. Midfielder Yarden Azulay whipped in a corner kick to Nicholas Hamilton, who redirected it with his head to Gutierrez, who deftly sent it in for the fourth score of the match.

The final goal was scored by Christian Gonzalez Diaz, who received a cross from Taylor Bowlin and kicked the ball into the lower right corner of the net. Franco's through ball set up the Bowlin cross for his third assist.

Manabu Kaji got the start in goal for Northridge and made one save in the shutout victory.

The first game of the regular season for the Matadors is Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. against Canisius at Matador Soccer Field.

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