September 20, 2012

Offense Explodes in 5-0 Win at San Diego

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -

For the second time in seven days the Cal State Northridge offense erupted as the Matadors (5-3) defeated the University of San Diego Toreros (2-4) 5-0 on Thursday night at Torero Stadium. Forwards Sagi Lev-Ari and Beto Velasquez scored two goals each and Edwin Rivas added one of his own as the Matadors won their third match in a row.

"As far as history goes, this is big for our program," said head coach Terry Davila. "We've had a tough time against San Diego in the past and I thought we played hard and executed around the goal to get it done tonight."

Northridge jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as Lev-Ari scored an unassisted goal in the fourth minute of play. Lev-Ari corralled a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired a shot past the goalkeeper.

Wasting little time, Lev-Ari scored his second goal of the match just under seven minutes later. The sophomore received a cross from the right side of the box and Lev-Ari slid to meet the ball and place it in the back of the net.

Chris Smith and David Turcios were each credited with an assist on the play as Lev-Ari scored his conference-leading eighth goal of the season. Lev-Ari entered the week one goal behind the nation's leading scorers and has set the bar for the others heading into the weekend.

After Lev-Ari's goal put the Matadors ahead 2-0, the offense for San Diego came alive and took seven of the last eight shots in the half.

"If we don't score early it is a different game," added Davila. "We were able to hold on for the 15 to 20 minute flurry they sent at the end of the first half and I thought that that was the difference tonight."

Northridge goalkeeper Michael Abalos made one save in the first half to keep the lead at two goals going into halftime.

"It was all about our energy and we were able to feed off of each other out there," said Abalos. "Our forwards made it easy for the defense to tighten down and win the ball so we could take control of the match."

The Toreros came out of the halftime break with the intensity they showed at the end of the first, forcing Abalos to make another save just a minute in.

Velasquez reversed the momentum in the Matadors favor in the 61st minute, however, as the junior received a long pass by Smith and put a shot in from 25 yards out.

Just over four minutes later Rivas joined the scoring trend with his fourth goal of the season. Rivas' initial attempt was saved by Torero goalkeeper Michael D'Arrigo but the sophomore collected the rebound and put the ball into the net.

After D'Arrigo was subbed out in favor of Drew Ilijevski midway through the second half, Velasquez notched his second of the night to close the books on the match. In the 70th minute, the junior lined up a free kick that beat Ilijevski into the far corner of the goal for his fifth of the season.

Freshman goalkeeper Luis Ayala-Padilla entered the match in the last three minutes for CSUN to relieve Abalos, who made four saves.

In the match, Smith and defender Yuval Barak were shown the yellow card for CSUN while Connor Brandt was cautioned for San Diego.

The victory for Northridge was the first against the Toreros since 2004 as CSUN had been held without a goal in each of the last three meetings. Northridge has posted 5-0 wins in two of the last three matches, also winning by that margin over Army on Sept. 14. Prior to this year, the Matadors had not scored five goals in a match since August 31, 2007 in a 6-1 win over Detroit.

The Matadors return home to Matador Soccer Field on Saturday, Sept. 22 to take on the Air Force Falcons at 7 p.m.