Late Heroics Lead Matadors to Upset Victory over No. 7 UCLA

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With two goals in the final eight minutes of regulation, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (7-7-1, 3-3-0 Big West) rallied for a come-from-behind win over the No. 7 UCLA Bruins (10-4-1, 5-0-0 Pac-12) 3-2 on Saturday night at Drake Stadium in Westwood, Calif. The victory was the first in history for the Matadors at UCLA as they moved to 2-13-3 against the Bruins all-time. The only other victory came in a 3-0 shutout at Matador Soccer Field on Sept. 29, 2007.

The Matadors were the first to strike in the match as freshman Christian Gonzalez Diaz received a through ball from Thomas Ramos in the 34th minute for his third goal of the season.

The match was one of possession in the first half hour with not many opportunities at goal for either side as five combined shots were taken, none of which were on goal. The Bruins dominated the possession game, opting to hold onto the ball in their end and wait for things to open up downfield before advancing.

That all changed in the 32nd minute when Gonzalez Diaz was introduced as a substitute. Opening things up at the front for Northridge, the forward needed less than two minutes to create space on the scoreboard as a pass from Ramos on the right side setup his shot into the top shelf to give the Matadors a 1-0 lead.

UCLA took a more aggressive approach after the restart and was able to put its first shot on net, a goal by Chandler Hoffman in the 39th minute. Eder Arreola passed the ball to Fernando Monge, who found Hoffman in the box. He took the ball and shot it past CSUN goalkeeper Michael Abalos into the far side of the net to level the score.

Then, in the 44th minute of play, Arreola played a corner kick short to Andy Rose, who swung it into the area and found Hoffman. Hoffman once more was able to put it in the back of the net and gave UCLA a 2-1 lead going into halftime.

After the first 45 minutes of play UCLA led in shots (5-4), shots on goal (2-1) and corner kicks (3-0). Neither goalkeeper recorded a save in the first half.

Both teams came into the second half trying to dictate the pace and it look as if neither defense would give an inch. Just a total of six combined shots were taken until the 80th minute.

Things grew interesting again in the late stages after Jose Luis Garcia was subbed on for the Matadors by head coach Terry Davila.

Like Gonzalez Diaz in the first half, Garcia provided instant offense for Northridge when he passed the ball to defender Joe Franco. Franco then sent a cross through the box to Brian Behrad, who met it with a volley into the far part of the net to tie the match at two goals apiece.

With the momentum now in the Matadors' favor, Garcia then won a corner kick in the 85th minute that led to a foul and a free kick for Northridge in the 86th. He stepped up for the free kick from 40 yards out and bent a shot that dipped toward the crossbar before a fingertip save by Rowe pushed it out for another corner.

Jose Luis Garcia took the ensuing corner kick, the fourth of the match for Northridge, and found Edwin Rivas in the box. Rivas knocked the ball down to himself and scored inside the near post to put the Matadors ahead for good and send the Matador fans in attendance into jubilation.

The Matadors finished with five shots on goal to UCLA's two as they won for the first time this season when trailing after 75 minutes. Each one of Northridge's seven victories this season has come when it is the first to score.

Northridge will return home for three of its final four regular season matches when it takes on UC Irvine in Big West play on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.