Oct. 28, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (7-7-2, 2-4-1 BWC) seemed to do just about everything right in the first half of play against the #4 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on a blustery evening at Harder Stadium. However, their one of their shots was not the one that was re-directed into the net as the Matadors entered the locker room down 1-0 at the half.
What would have been a routine save for Matador goalkeeper Michael Abalos turned out to be anything but as a shot taken by Gaucho midfielder Luis Silva deflected off the foot of one of his teammates right in front of the Matador goal.Instead of being tallied as another save for Abalos, the ball snuck under the upper left-hand side of the crossbar into the net for the first goal of the match.
From the beginning of the game, the Matadors were successful in dictating the pace of play as they attacked the Gaucho goal early and often. Shots that were taken either sailed just above or wide of the net until forwad Mattias Bonvehi fired a rocket of a shot from approximately seven yards out that was collected by the Gaucho 'keeper.
Were it not for a well-placed cross by midfielder Ruben Rodriguez, Bonvehi would have ner had an opportunity score as Rodriguez' pass was threaded through three Gaucho defenders before Bonvehi had an opportunity to control his pass and take a shot on goal.
Bonvehi continued to pressure the Gauchos during the second half as he was able to break through the first two layers of the Santa Barbara defense only to have his crossing passes or shots deflected at the last moment by the Gaucho backline.
The Gauchos added an insurance goal in the second half to extend their lead, an advantage that was nearly sliced in half when a header from Cameron Sims came only inches away from giving the Matadors their first goal of the game. Instead the ball ricocheted off the left post, crossing the endline only moments later.
Sims had another opportunity to head in a CSUN goal in the 81st minute; with a Gaucho defender draped on his back, his header hit the crossbar before sailing out of bounds.
For the first time since 2004, the teams split their season series as each team earned a victory on their home field.
The Matadors return to campus to begin a two-game homestand this Saturday afternoon against the UC Riverside Highlanders. Having defeated Riverside in their first conference game of the season, CSUN will look to sweep the Highlanders for the fifth time in the program's history, and extend their current 15 game win-streak.
Saturday's game will also mark the second day of a five-day long food drive to benefit the Children's Hunger Fund; fans who arrive to Matador Field with a (suggested) donation of three non-perishable or canned food items will receive free admission to the game. Kick-off will take place at 3:00 p.m. and will also be available for viewing on GameTracker.