CSUN Closes 2010 Season at #7 UC Irvine and at Home Against Cal Poly

Nov. 2, 2010

Matador Men's Soccer Notes 

Chasque Aquí Para Leer Esta Historia En Español



Wednesday, November 3, 7:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-13-2, 1-6-1 Big West) at #7 UC Irvine Anteaters (13-1-3, 6-0-2 Big West)
Anteater Stadium - Irvine, Calif.
GameTracker available at GoMatadors.com

Saturday, November 6, 7:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-13-2, 1-6-1 Big West) vs. Cal Poly Mustangs (6-6-3, 3-3-2 Big West)
Matador Soccer Field - Northridge, Calif.
GameTracker available at GoMatadors.com


NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors will close out the 2010 season with their final road and home games at #7 UC Irvine and Cal Poly on Wednesday and Saturday respectively. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. A pre-game ceremony honoring senior Chris Leiva will take place prior to the start of Saturday's CSUN-Cal Poly match at Matador Soccer Field, fans are encouraged to arrive early to secure their seats in time for the celebration.



With the Matadors coming to the end of their schedule, fans can follow all the action of both games this week on GameTracker. Visit GoMatadors.com and click on the `GT' logo located on the calendar section of the main page, or on the men's soccer schedule link to find the latest in-game information against both the UC Irvine Anteaters and Cal Poly Mustangs.


After suffering a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the UC Irvine Anteater in their first match of the season played at Matador Soccer Field, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will face the Anteaters once again two weeks later to the day this Wednesday. Competing in their final road match of the season, CSUN will look to dampen UCI's senior day festivities once again as the Matadors left Anteater Stadium, the final regular season game of the 2009 season, with a 3-0 victory.

One of the few teams in the Big West who has left Anteater Stadium with positive results on a consistent basis, the Matadors have not dropped a game to the Anteaters since their 2-1 defeat that took place on October 19, 2005. Since then, CSUN has won two and tied two games that have taken place in Irvine.

Currently undefeated in conference play, UC Irvine brings with them an eight-game winning streak to Anteater Stadium after dropping their only game of the season on September 19 in a road game against the Sacramento State Hornets. Notwithstanding a 7-2 rout over Cal State Fullerton, three of their most recent victories have only been by a solitary goal, with two scoreless ties having also taken place recently against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.

Led by senior forward Amani Walker and his team-high ten goals, 13 different Anteaters have found the back of the net in 2010, making goalkeeper Andrew Fontein's job that much easier as the junior netminder has been able to record 11 shutouts out of his 13 wins earned this season. Matador soccer fans are well aware of Amani's goal-scoring capabilities as it was his goal on a controversial offsides call that was not called in the 82nd minute of their match in Northridge that helped Irvine secure their win against CSUN earlier this season.


Competing at Matador Soccer Field for the first time since the 2008 season, Northridge will end their 2010 season against the visiting Cal Poly Mustangs. Thanks to Rafael Garcia's two goals scored in their previous match at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in early October, CSUN left San Luis Obispo with one point earned thanks to their 2-2 draw. 

Looking for their first win against Cal Poly since the 2005 season - Northridge has tied four of the last seven games played against the Mustangs - CSUN will look to squelch Cal Poly's chances of making the Big West Postseason Tournament as well. With the Mustangs entering the final week of conference competition in fifth place, trailing UC Davis by a mere point, Cal Poly's playoff chances may hinge on Saturday's result depending on how they fare against Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday and the final results of Davis' last match of the season at UC Riverside that same night.

With three goals and four assists earned this season senior forward David Zamora currently leads the way for Cal Poly in both categories. Also tying Zamora with three goals scored are sophomore midfielder Chris Gashen and junior forward Tim White. Even though all three Mustang goalkeepers have seen significant action this season, CSUN will most likely see junior netminder Patrick McLain in goal. With 55 saves and three wins to his credit, all shutout victories, McLain will face a Matador squad that looks to end their season on a positive note by earning their first victory under the lights at Matador Soccer Field this season.


The last week of the 2010 season will carry an extra level of meaning for one Matador who will compete in his final road and home game while wearing the red and black. For graduating senior Chris Leiva, Saturday's game at home against the Cal Poly Mustangs will be his final collegiate game as a Matador as he is the lone senior on the squad who will be recognized ina pre-game ceremony prior to CSUN's kick-off against the Mustangs. 

Originally joining the Matador men's soccer team in 2008 after transferring from Vanguard University, Leiva competed in 18 games, starting on one occasion as a junior. That season, Leiva finished with two assists earned in back-to-back games against UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside. In 2010, Leiva has seen action in six matches.


Participating in CSUN's largest annual food drive, the Matador men's soccer team will team up with the men's basketball team to give fans an opportunity to help those in need during this upcoming holiday season. All fans that donate three canned food items to Friday's home opener for the men's basketball team, or Saturday's senior day game against the visiting Cal Poly Mustangs will receive free admission. Doors open at 6 p.m. for both contests, each respective game will start at 7 p.m. with all collected items being donated to M.E.N.D. (Meeting Each Need with Dignity) of the San Fernando Valley.


After a three-game unbeaten run during which it scored nine goals,  Cal State Northridge has struggled with a seven-match losing streak in which it has picked up just four goals. With one of the younger rosters in the country, the Matadors are building back to their usual level of excellence, and there has been several bright spots. Most recently, the side dominated a nationally-ranked foe in Pac-10 power UCLA, before ultimately falling 2-1. 


Junior midfielder Rafael Garcia and sophomore goalkeeper Michael Abalos are each competing at a level that ranks them near the top of a number of categories with their peers. For Garcia, his team-high five assists are the 84th-highest overall total, helping him also craft a 0.33 assists per game average that ranks him 91st out of all Division-I soccer players nationwide. Abalos' currently averages 4.25 saves per game, ranking him 70th of all D-I goalkeepers in the country. 


Against Cal Poly on Oct. 6, junior midfielder Rafael Garcia not only scored the two CSUN goals to help them earn a point in the standings, but took a total of six shots that were all on goal. Since joining the Big West in 2001, no Matador had ever registered that many shots on goal in one game. On three occasions during his career at Northridge, Matador great Willie Sims recorded five shots on goal (September 10, 2004 vs. American, October 9, 2004 at UC Irvine, and September 17, 2005 vs. UNLV), as did current men's soccer assistant coach Yossi Raz in a home game against Denver on October 6, 2002. Prior to last Wednesday's game, both Sims and Raz help the team record for most shots on goal in one game before Garcia's eye-opening performance in San Luis Obispo took place.


Having recently completed a portion of their schedule that included eight out of nine games on the road, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will now face a home-heavy schedule of games from now until the end of the season. Starting with their match against UC Davis on Oct. 9, the Matadors play six of their last nine games at Matador Soccer Field. 


Since joining the Big West in 2001, CSUN has played in 48 overtime games, and have failed to earn a point in only eight of those matches. The last time Northridge won a game in overtime took place in 2009 when CSUN scored the golden goal in overtime against the Cal State Fullerton Titans.


Led by freshman Sam Ball with three, nine different Matadors have found the back of the net in 2010, a list of names that includes four freshman - Ball, Alberto Rosas, Majeed Shahin, and Gustavo Villalobos.  Combined, the freshmen quartet are responsible for 82 shots, 28 of which are on goal. Leading the team with nine points, five assists, and 22 shots on goal, Rafael Garcia's 42 shots rank second on the team behind Villalobos (47). 


With his two goals and an assist earned in CSUN's Big West opener at Cal State Fullerton, Gustavo Villalobos became just the second Matador in the last four seasons to score a goal and earn an assist in the same match. Prior to his five point effort against the Titans (two goals, one assist) former All-Big West midfielder Sunghyun Kim was the last Matador to accomplish the feat in CSUN's 3-0 season finale (and playoff clinching win) at UC Irvine last season.


Despite some tough outcomes early in the season, a number of Matadors are continuing to make their mark within the Big West and have found themselves ranked in the top ten in various statistical categories. Senior midfielder Rafael Garcia, who serves as a captain on the squad, is currently tied for fifth in the Big West with five assists and sixth in the conference with 42 shots taken, trailing teammate Gustavo Villalobos who has 47 shots to his credit for the third-highest total in the Big West. The redshirt freshman midfielder also is tied for fifth place in shots per game with 2.76, trailing Garcia and his 2.80 shots per game average which ranks him one spot higher in fourth place. With his assist earned against UC Irvine, Garcia now leads the team with five and sits in a tie for fourth in the conference in that category. Goalkeeper Michael Abalos and his 68 saves are the third-highest total in the conference, his 4.25 saves per game average ranks him fourth amongst his netmiding peers.


The Matadors are now 19-7-4 in conference season openers, and have only been defeated once in a Big West opener. CSUN has not lost a conference opener since 2002, when they were on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision against UC Irvine at home. The last time the Matadors tied a conference opening match was in 2007 at Cal State Fullerton, the same squad they defeated to open the Big West season in 2010. The longest streak for conference opening wins in Matador history is 10 seasons, accomplished from 1978-87 under the direction of head coaches Zvi Friedman, Ric Fonseca and Marwan Ass'ad.


One of 17 newcomers to the squad this year, freshman forward Sam Ball is making quite an impression within the Big West this season. Leading CSUN with three goals scored - an impressive feat as he has taken only 12 shots and has capitalized on three out of five shots taken on goal. Gustavo Villalobos is also making a name for himself amongst the Matador faithful as the redshirt freshman had a career day with two goals and an assist en route to a five point performance at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 2. His five points were the most recorded in a game for the Matadors since Willie Sims tallied six with three goals against UNLV on September 17, 2005.. He is also the first freshman to score multiple goals in a game since teammate Camilo Rojas did it against Detroit (August 31, 2007) three seasons ago. 


Since relocating from North Campus Stadium to their current facility before the start of the 2002 season, Matador Soccer Field has presented a strong advantage for the Matadors. In the 76 games played on-campus, CSUN possesses an overwhelming 50-18-8 record at home for a .711 winning percentage on their home turf.


With their 4-0 win over Air Force in late September, and 3-0 win at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 2, the Cal State Northridge Matadors scored three or more goals in consecutive games for the first time since the 2008 season when Northridge put three in the back of the net in consecutive road games at UC Riverside (11/1/08) and Cal State Fullerton (11/5/08).


One indication of the success sophomore goalkeeper Michael Abalos earned last season can be seen in the Matador record books as the San Juan Capistrano native earned a spot on four different lists with his numbers earned during his freshman season at Northridge. Abalos now shares eighth place with Zoltan Nagy (1995) and Mike Littman (1989) with his nine career victories, is fifth all-time with his 1.17 career goals against average, and is now tied for seventh all-time with Mike Caputo (1985-87) with his seven career shutouts. His five clean sheets earned in 2009 is also the seventh-highest number of shutouts earned in a season, tying him with Joe Barton (2001) and Mike Littman (1989) and their respective single-season performances.


Known for creating a tough schedule year after year, the Matador coaching staff has pieced together one of the most challenging schedules ever in an attempt to prepare the team for the challenges and rigors faced during conference play. Almost one-third of the games scheduled in 2010 will be against teams that were ranked in the top-25 nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in 2009. The list of opponents includes CSUN's season-opening game vs. San Diego (9/1), last season's College Cup runners-up Akron (9/17), San Francisco (9/24), cross-town rival UCLA (10/27), UC Santa Barbara (10/23), and UC Irvine (10/20).


The 2010 Cal State Northridge men's soccer team received 27 points and were picked to finish fourth in the 2010 Big West Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches poll as announced by the league office in mid-August. Northridge was narrowly edged out by Cal Poly as the Mustangs earned 28 points to claim third place by a slim one point margin. Finishing in second place with 43 total points and one first place vote was UC Irvine, with UC Santa Barbara leading the way with 48 points and six first place votes. Cal State Fullerton's 22 points were enough to secure fifth place, with UC Davis and UC Riverside rounding out the poll in sixth and seventh place respectively with 17 and 11 points. This is the third straight season that Northridge was predicted to finish in fourth place; last season CSUN received 32 overall and one first place point en route to a 10-8-2 overall record, clinching a spot in the 2009 Big West Men's Soccer Postseason Tournament.


Tickets for all home men's matches are available through the CSUN Associated Students Ticket Office. Adults are $5, while youth 17 and under and seniors 60 and older are $3. There is also a $3 discounted rate ticket for CSUN Faculty/Staff, Military Service Personnel and CSUN Alumni Association Members with their respective identification cards.

CSUN students receive free admission to all home games with their CSUN I.D. Groups of 10 or more people may purchase $3 tickets, but tickets must be purchased a minimum of 24 hours in advance. For more information, call the A.S. Ticket Office at 818-677-2488.



Text-Only Website