The Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer team (4-9-1) will look to get their season back on track this weekend as they go up against a lowly UC Irvine squad (3-9-1).
Since their overtime win against San Diego State, the Titans have not tasted victory, going winless in their last four games. The CSUF offense has simply been nonexistent, scoring only two goals since beating the Aztecs.
This season so far has been defined by streaks for the Titans. After starting the season 1-6, CSUF went on a three-game winning streak, with senior forward Jesse Escalante igniting the offense, scoring one goal in each game. The squad had garnered momentum, but it was gone in an instant. Since then, the Titans have been on a four-game winless streak.
The last two games have been exceptionally hard to swallow for the Titans. Against Sacramento State, it was a tale of two halves. The Titans were utterly dominated in the first half, giving up a goal just 42 seconds into the match to freshman forward Nate Nugen. Junior forward Isaac Ikyurav took a pass at the edge of the box following a corner kick and crossed it into the area to Nugen who netted the ball past junior goalkeeper Robbie Hannon. It was the freshman’s first career goal.
The Hornets then made it 2-0 in the 21st minute as senior midfielder Chris Sandoval took a cross and fired low and to the left for his fourth goal of the season. The score remained the same late into the second half when Titan junior midfielder Andrew Afia headed home a cross from senior midfielder Gerzon Blanco for his first goal of the year.
CSUF played much more competitively in their next game against UC Davis. Aggies junior midfielder Alex Aguiar made his presence known early as he scored off a penalty kick in the 37th minute to give UC Davis the lead at the end of the first half.
The Titans responded with a goal of their own in the 63rd minute by way of sophomore Ian Ramos. Senior forward Jameson Campbell’s header was kept out by Aggies junior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni, but landed in the waiting foot of Ramos who one-touched it into the right corner. CSUF played well for much of the second half until junior midfielder Alex Henry scored the game-winner in the 80th minute, a 35-yard strike to the far right corner.
Going into the UCI game, Escalante leads the Titans, scoring six goals on the season to go along with one assist and 13 total points. Ramos has also been an asset for CSUF, having scored two goals and a team-leading two assists. Senior defender Mario Alvarez has given it his all on defense, scoring a goal and dishing out two assists.
UC Irvine’s most consistent threat this season is junior midfielder Gor Kirakosyon. So far, he has accumulated four goals, four assists and 12 points. Sophomore forward Cameron Iwasa is the leading scorer for the Aggies, having scored five goals. Sophomore forward Lester Hayes III has also been productive offensively scoring three goals and an assist this season.
The Titans play at UCI on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
For more information on men’s soccer, visit FullertonTitans.com