September 20, 2009

Matadors Wrap Up Second-Straight Tournament Title with 2-1 Victory over SMU

Sept. 20, 2009

Box Score      Matadors Tour Downtown Dallas

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge men's soccer team (5-1) defeated SMU (3-3), 2-1, Sunday afternoon at the Prego Italian Express Invitational in Dallas, Texas. Seniors Cameron Sims and Dylan Riley struck for goals while sophomore Rafael Garcia had two assists and freshman Michael Abalos made six saves in the win.

With the win, the Matadors clinch their second tournament tile in as many weeks, taking the Prego Italian Express Invitational Championship after finishing the event as the only undefeated team. Tulsa and SMU each finished 1-1 and Bradley was 0-2 at the event, which was held on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

"We stayed humble and hard-working all weekend and we stayed disciplined in our roles," head coach Terry Davila said. "Any time you win on the road, it is big. We knew SMU was very strong in the midfield and we played tactically aware today to get the win."

Sims put the Matadors ahead early, connecting with Garcia in the eighth minute of action to give CSUN a 1-0 lead. The goal was Sims' third on the season and Garcia's first helper of the season.

Northridge would see its lead doubled off a header by Riley, his second goal of the weekend, in the 69th minute. Again, Garcia provided the set-up, delivering a precise free kick to the waiting Riley for his second assist of the game.

"Dylan was phenomenal all weekend for us on set pieces and in his work on our backline," Davila added.

Abalos finished with six saves in the contest to earn with his second win of the weekend. He owns a 1.00 goals-against-average and s .818 save percentage for the season in addition to his two wins.

"We played two very tough Midwestern teams this weekend and came in and did a great job defensively and in goal," Davila said. "I am very happy for Michael and our goaltending overall."

SMU made things interesting in the 77th minute when Leone Cruz headed in a corner kick off from teammate Dane Saintus. However, the Matadors, playing a man down, would hold off the Mustang's attempt at an equalizer.

The game was a physical affair highlighted by six yellow cards and a red card to Northridge's Ruben Rodriguez in the 77th minute. Rene Anguiano and Garcia saw the yellow card for the Matadors, while Payton Hickey, Leone Cruz, Dane Saintus and TJ Nelson were cautioned for the Mustangs.

In all, the teams combined for 31 fouls, with Northridge whistled for 21 offenses. Offensively, SMU finished with 15 shots compared to CSUN's 12, though the Matadors did win four corner kicks to just one for the Mustangs. Senior Devin Deldó led CSUN with three shots, all of which were on net. Craig Hill made four saves in the loss for the Mustangs.

For their efforts, four Matadors were named to the all-tournament team. Riley took home the honors in addition to being named Tournament MVP. Joining him were Sims, Garcia and senior Chad Borak

Northridge now owns a five-game winning streak as it heads to Fullerton, Calif., next weekend to participate in the Big West Challenge at Cal State Fullerton. On Sept. 25, the Matadors face the University of Denver at 5 p.m. and then face Coastal Carolina on Sept. 27 at 11 a.m.

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