On the opening night of the 2014 season, the No. 24 CSUN Matadors (0-1-0) were defeated by the Denver Pioneers (1-0-0) 2-1 on Friday night at CIBER Field. After trailing by two goals in the match, the Matadors rallied to score with less than seven minutes to play but were unable to find an equalizer.
Preseason All-American Sagi Lev-Ari scored his first goal of the season for CSUN in the 84th minute on a penalty kick, but Denver was able to hold on to keep its unbeaten streak alive at 16 matches dating to September 14, 2013.
The Pioneers got off to an early start and scored the opening goal after 10 minutes. Karsten Hanlin finished a shot past Kevin Marquez, who made his CSUN debut in goal, while Reagan Dunk was credited with an assist.
In the 69th minute Ryan Dodson sent a pass to Eric Kronenberg, who found the net with a shot to put Denver ahead 2-0. Running out of time in the match, the Matadors began to rally and were able to cut into the lead with less than 10 minutes to play.
After a foul in the box, Lev-Ari stepped to the spot and cooly converted to score his 32nd career goal and move into a tie for 10th all-time in a career at CSUN. Shortly after, Denver's Kyle Emerson was then shown a second yellow card to force the Pioneers to play with 10 men for the remainder of the evening.
Although they played the final few minutes with the momentum on their side, the Matadors were unable to find an equalizer.
CSUN remains on the road for its next contest, taking on Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Sunday, Aug. 31. Kickoff between the Matadors and Falcons is scheduled for 12 p.m. PT at the USAFA Soccer Stadium.