Sept. 30, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - With the game knotted at 1-1, defender Dylan Riley would permanently break the tie in the 77th minute to give the Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-2-1, 1-0-0 BWC) a 3-1 road victory over the UC Riverside Highlanders.
Riley earned his third goal of the season by re-directing a free kick taken by midfielder Sunghuyn Kim from just outside the right-hand side of the penalty area who earned his team-high fourth assist of the season on the play.
Even though both teams traded possession in the middle third of the pitch for most of the first half, each side did create a number of scoring chances; opportunities that were thwarted by the brilliant performance in goal by both Matador goalkeeper Michael Abalos and Highlander netminder Cody Suppe.
A number of highlight-quality saves were made by Abalos to preserve the tie going into halftime, an effort that would soon be rewarded when Kim opened up the scoring in the 52nd minute to take an early 1-0 lead.
The assist was Chavez' first point as a Matador.
The 1-0 Matador lead would dissipate less than two minutes later when Highlander midfielder Cesar Diaz scored the equalizing goal in the 54th minute of action.
With the score now tied at 1-1, and momentum clearly on their side, Highlander defender Jose Diaz earned a red card for grabbing the jersey of Matador forward Cameron Sims on a breakaway attempt, a scoring opportunity that was quickly thwarted once Sims was tackled to the ground.
Northridge would play with the man advantage for the final 28 minutes of the game, an opportunity the team would take full advantage of.
From that point on, the Matadors focused their efforts on offense, striking at Suppe on any and every opportunity possible in an attempt to re-gain the lead.
Were it not for a Herculean effort by Suppe, the final score would have been even more lopsided in the Matadors favor. In total, Suppe made a number of diving saves, and saw a total of three shots hit the crossbar above him before Riley netted the game-winning goal.
After taking the lead for the second time in the game, Abalos made sure that no other shot would pass by him for the remainder of the contest as he asserted himself throughout the remainder of the game, made a number of solid plays in front of his net, and did everything possible on his end to preserve the Matador advantage.
After thwarting a Highlander corner kick in the final seconds of the game, the only corner that Riverside took during the game, Abalos cleared the ball toward the midfield line to Chad Borak who was streaking down the sideline in front of both benches.
In front of Borak was an empty net; in a last-second effort to tie the game Suppe raced downfield in an effort to provide an extra body in front of the Matador goal for a potential equalizing goal. With the game just second away from ending, and Abalos clearing the ball upfield, Suppe found himself in a challenging situation.
With nobody back on defense, and an empty net staring at Borak, Suppe was now in a foot race with the Matador defender to see who would make it back to the Highlander net first. Seeing that he was beaten by Borak in the chase towards the net, Suppe then made a last-second dash towards Borak in an attempt to deflect the ball out of play.
Unfortunately for Suppe, Borak found defender Joe Franco trailing the play and quickly passed the ball towards him. With no other Highlander in sight, Franco took a few steps before calmly striking the ball into the goal to seal the victory for CSUN.
The goal was Franco's first as a Matador with Borak earning his first assist of the season in the process.
When Diaz earned his red card, the score was tied at 1-1, with Northridge holding a slim 7-5 margin in total shots taken on goal. After he left, the Matadors were able to fire another eight shots on goal in comparison to Riverside's one, and scored another two goals.
With their first conference victory in their possession the Matadors now have two days to prepare for their upcoming game against the New Mexico Lobos, CSUN's sixth consecutive road game, this Saturday evening. Kick-off is scheduled to take place at 6:00 p.m. Pacific and will be available for viewing on GameTracker.