NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Although the first 45 minutes did not result in a goal, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (1-0) scored three times in the second half to surge past the University at Albany Great Danes (0-1) by a final score of 3-0 on Friday night at Matador Soccer Field. Pol Schonhofer Bartra, Brian Behrad and Chris Smith all found the back of the net as the host Matadors opened the 2013 Ryan Rossi Memorial Tournament with a win.
Northridge had its fair amount of opportunities to score in the first half and led the Great Danes in shots (10-2) and shots on goal (4-1) at the break. Both Edwin Rivas and Sagi Lev-Ari had a pair of chances saved by Albany goalkeeper Tim Allen.
The Great Danes threatened twice in the first half as both shots nearly resulted in a goal for the away side. In the 24th minute, Anthony Rozzano fired a shot that forced goalkeeper Adam Hobbs to make a diving save. Then in the 28th minute Martin Gorrie had his shot hit off the crossbar and go out of play.
The Matadors found the breakthrough, however, in the second half after Allen was substituted due to injury. Following a corner kick, defender Trevor Morley sent a header toward the goal. Beto Velasquez was then able to put a touch on it over to Schonhofer Bartra, who shot it home from three yards out.
In the 68th minute, Northridge doubled its lead on a header by Behrad. Velasquez again picked up the assist after his cross from the right side of the box found Behrad in the area. The forwards header bounced up off of the grass and into the underside of the crossbar for his first goal of the year.
The Matadors capped off the scoring just under two minutes later as Smith's shot found the net as well. Behrad started the play by stealing the ball in the midfield before making a long run upfield. After his shot was parried by goalkeeper Eric Oroloio, Smith sent a low shot to the center of the goal.
Cal State Northridge is now 23-11-2 all time in season openers. The Matadors will next play against Memphis on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. for the championship of the Ryan Rossi Memorial Tournament. Memphis defeated Cal State Fullerton 1-0 earlier Friday.