Matadors Defeat Fullerton 1-0 in Overtime, Close in on Final Playoff Spot
Nov. 4, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-7-2, 4-4-1, BWC) earned a critical 1-0 victory over the Cal State Fullerton Titans (7-9-2, 3-5-1 BWC) on Wednesday at Matador Field, scoring the decisive goal off the foot of Cameron Sims in the sixth minute of overtime, keeping their playoff aspirations alive, going into the final game of the regular season on Saturday.
After 90 scoreless minutes, the Matadors finally broke through on a flawless scoring attack that the Titans were unable to foil.
Moments after the Matadors forced a Titan turnover in their side of the field, Yuval Barak led the charge for a potential CSUN score, kicking a pass to Rafael Garcia who raced to the net. Garcia's drive brought Fullerton `keeper Trevor Whiddon out to defend, but he would feed an open Cameron Sims on the left side of the goal, who would score from point black range giving Northridge the victory.
Prior to Wednesday's match, all ten Matador seniors, which include Sims, Garcia, Robert Pate, Sunghyun Kim, Luis Smith, Moy Gomez, Milan Radovic, Devin Deldo, Chad Borak and Ruben Rodriguez were accompanied by family members at midfield, as they were honored with a pre-game ceremony that highlighted the contributions they have brought to the Cal State Northridge men's soccer team.
The emotionally charged ceremony may have ignited the Matadors, as they dominated the ball most of the match. Northridge would produce many scoring opportunities, often coming inches away from breaking through with a score.
Throughout the first half, the Matadors played the ball mostly in their side of the field. In the first 45 minutes, CSUN outshot Fullerton eight to four and nearly came away with a score when Sims' header from about ten yards out was wide of the net.
In the second half, the Matadors manufactured several scoring opportunities, including another Sims header that again was sent wide of the goal. Moments later, Garcia would have a look at the net about 12 yards out; he would kick a bullet high of the goal but Whiddon reacted well to reach and tip the shot out over the net. Pate had another scoring chance minutes soon after, as he headed a shot about 8 yards out, that went just high of the goal.
CSUN goalkeeper, Michael Abalos earned his fourth shutout of the season in the win, the team's sixth.
Going into Wednesday's match-up, the Matadors found themselves in a three-way tie with the Titans and the UC Davis Aggies for the final spot in next week's Big West Conference Tournament. With today's victory, the Matadors evened the season series with the Titans, as Fullerton defeated CSUN 2-1 in double overtime on October 7, and now has the tie-breaker over the Titans with one game left for each team.
The Matadors will end the regular season at UC Irvine on Saturday, with kick-off starting at 7:00 p.m. Soccer fans can catch all the action via GameTracker on www.GoMatadors.com