Coming off a split at the UNLV Nike Invitational in Las Vegas, the Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer team will look to come up big against the Air Force Academy and the University of San Diego this weekend. The Titans are currently 2-6 on the season but have been playing great offensively as of late. In their last three games, CSUF has scored six goals and has been putting more pressure on opposing defenses.
The Titans came up short against Canisius College in their first game at Las Vegas, losing 4-2 to a potent Golden Griffins squad. The loss was the third-straight for the Titans at the time.
Senior forward Gavin Falconer, the two-time reigning Metro Atlantic Player of the Week, got the scoring started for Canisius in the seventh minute of the match. He blasted the ball to the top of the goal from a pass to the endline, but he was not done putting his imprint on the match. Six minutes into the second half, he netted the ball into the goal off a long free kick that slipped through freshman goalkeeper Adam Zepeda’s hands.
Falconer’s second goal started a streak of three goals in 11 minutes for the Golden Griffins. In the 60th minute, senior midfielder Paul Klopfer scored from 12 yards out, while sophomore midfielder Denver Spearman stole the ball and put it past Zepeda at close range just two minutes later. The Titans got two late, inconsequential goals from defender Mario Alvarez and senior forward Jesse Escalante to finish the game.
CSUF found a way to turn their fortune around against a formidable Syracuse team just two days later. The Orange had a four game winning streak, but they were completely dominated by the Titans, losing 3-1.
Just three minutes into the game, Syracuse senior midfielder Ted Cribley turned a steal into a goal, dribbling in and firing the ball past goalkeeper Zepeda for the 1-0 lead.
The Titans fought back just eight minutes later, scoring twice in a four-minute span to take the lead. Escalante’s header in the 12th minute tied it up, while Rosales headed a corner for the game-winner in the 16th minute. Sophomore midfielder Ian Ramos finished off the scoring for CSUF four minutes into the second half, heading home a cross for the final 3-1 decision.
Heading into the two weekend games, Escalante leads the Titans in both goals (4) and points (9) and is second on the team with 14 shots. Alvarez has also been an asset for CSUF, scoring one goal to go along with 10 shots and three points. Ramos also has three points on the season, accumulating one goal, one assist, and 10 shots. Zepeda has 26 saves and a 67 percent save percentage.
The Titans will have to keep their focus against an Air Force team that head into Fullerton with a 3-3-1 record. The Falcons are led by freshman forward Abinadi Samyoa. He has two goals, four points and taken eight shots on the young season. Senior midfielder Kevin Durr and senior forward Zane Dydasco have also played well, accumulating one goal and three points thus far. Durr leads the team with 22 shots.
CSUF will then match up against a University of San Diego team that heads into Titan Stadium with a 2-3 record. Junior midfielder Elijah Galbraith-Knapp has been stellar for the Toreros this season, scoring two goals and taken eight shots. Senior forward Patrick Wallen has also played well for San Diego, scoring one goal and accumulating three points.
The Titans play the Air Force Academy on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and University of San Diego on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Both games are at Titan Stadium. For more information, visit: FullertonTitans.com.