Oct. 24, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - After a tough 3-2 defeat in Wednesday's game at UC Davis, Northridge (6-5-3, 2-1-2 BWC) will step onto Matador Field this Saturday looking to win their fourth straight win at home against the Cal Poly Mustangs 8-4-3, 3-2-1 BWC).
With the Matadors currently occupying the fourth spot in the Big West standings, only two points behind both Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, this weekend's game carries an additional level of importance. Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Now that both teams have entered the second-half of conference play, each and every game takes on another level of importance as only the top four teams will participate in the inaugural Big West Men's Soccer Tournament taking place next month.
With both teams experiencing tough situations in their previous games, the Matadors were a man down for a majority of the match against UC Davis while Cal Poly gave up a penalty kick in the 90th minute to a UC Irvine squad that ended up leaving San Luis Obispo with a 1-1 tie, expect another highly-competetive contest between two of the top teams in the conference.
"We know that every time we lose, we are even more excited to compete in the next game, " stated Matador midfielder Christopher Leiva. "This upcoming match is a critical one, everyone knows it."
Forward Camilo Rojas will look to continue his stellar play up front for the Matadors; in the last two games he has scored three goals and leads the team in total goals with five.
Having picked up five points on two goals and one assist in the last two games, Midfielder Sunghyun Kim looks to add to his totals against a Mustang defense that has surrendered only 14 goals this season.
Fans should prepare themselves to witness another great duel in goal as two of the Conference's top goalkeepers in senior netminder Kevin Guppy (1.07 GAA, .783 save percentage) and Mustang 'keeper Eric Branagan-Franco (0.88 GAA, .818 save percentage) will square of against one another.
"I always check out the standings to see how all the other teams performed against one another and who to look out for," echoed Leiva.
With Mustang forward David Zamora leading the way for his team with six goals, the Matador defense will need to look out for him at all times and find a way to negate his scoring capabilities.
"This is our biggest game of the season right now, and we are preparing for it accordingly," said Leiva.
After leaving Harder Stadium with a 2-2 tie in their previous meeting, the Matadors will face their conference-rivals UC Santa Barbara Wednesday afternoon. In their final home game before starting another two-game road trip, the Matadors look to add another three points in the standings, and enhance their post-season chances. Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30, admission is free for all Northridge students.