Matadors Move Into First Place Tie With 2-0 Win Over Cal Poly

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Behind a seventh-minute goal by Thomas Ramos and a shutout for goalkeepr Michael Abalos, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-5-1, 3-1-0 Big West) defeated the Cal Poly Mustangs (5-5-2, 2-2-0 Big West), 2-0, on Tuesday night at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The victory snapped a streak of eight consecutive matches without a win against the Mustangs for Northridge dating back to Oct. 26, 2005.

After being shutout last Saturday against UC Irvine for just the second time this season, the Matadors came out quickly and scored a goal in the seventh minute of play against the Mustangs. Senior defender Nicholas Hamilton brought the ball up the field and flicked it through the defense to Ramos, who came out on the right side of a one-on-one with the goalkeeper and netted a shot for his team-leading fourth goal of the season.

Cal Poly recorded the next five shots of the match over a period of nearly 30 minutes. The best chance came in the 29th minute when Mustang Cameron Walters hit the crossbar with a shot and got his own rebound, but his follow-up attempt sailed over the goal.

The two teams played fairly evenly for the remainder of the first half and the Matadors took a 1-0 lead into the locker room. After 45 minutes of play, Cal Poly led in shots (7-4), shots on goal (2-1) and corner kicks (3-2), but Abalos recorded two important saves and was also the beneficiary of a shot off the crossbar to keep the Matadors ahead.

The Matadors began the second half by trying to score quickly again as forward Brian Behrad had two shots on goal in the first six minutes for Northridge. Four shots for Cal Poly in that span kept Abalos busy and he made a save in the 51st minute to preserve the lead.

Another opportunity arose for Cal Poly as Kyle Montgomery tried his luck but hit the post in the 62nd minute.

Northridge was able to break through for a second goal in the match in the 66th minute thanks to Behrad, who had a breakaway toward the goal and slid the ball by the goalkeeper for his second goal of the season. Midfielder Carlos Benavides earned his seventh assist of the season on the play.

Two more shots in the match by Ramos were saved by Mustang goalkeeper Patrick McClain, and at the end of the match the scoreboard read 2-0 in favor of the Matadors.

Cal Poly received two yellow cards in the match, one each to Chris Gaschen and Benny Estes.

Abalos made four saves on the night to earn his fifth clean sheet of the season. He now has 12 career shutouts and is third all-time in that category at CSUN.

The win gives Northridge nine points in the Big West standings, good for a first-place tie with UC Irvine at 3-1. The Matadors host the Anteaters on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. to close out the season series.

The Matadors return to action on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. against the UC Davis Aggies at Matador Soccer Field. It will also be Breast Cancer Awareness Night and all fans wearing pink will receive free admission.