The Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer team (7-10-1 overall, 3-4-1 in conference) will look to continue their strong play as they host Cal State Northridge Wednesday. The Titans have been playing stellar as of late, winning their last three games by scoring a total of nine goals.
Their two most recent victories came against Big West rivals UC Riverside and UC Irvine. Against the Highlanders, senior midfielder Gerzon Blanco scored the “golden goal” to hand the Titans the 3-2 victory with just under two minutes remaining in the second overtime period at the UCR Soccer Stadium.
First-half play was defined by hard playing defense, as both teams were unable to score and went into the half knotted at 0-0. In the 69th minute, however, senior defender Jameson Campbell was able to break the deadlock by way of a strike from the middle of the box that found the right corner of the net for the 1-0 lead. After a goal by each team, CSUF was four minutes from victory thanks to sophomore midfielder Ian Ramos who scored a penalty kick in the 86th minute. With just seconds remaining in the game, UCR scored off a header that sent the game into overtime and led to Blanco’s aforementioned game-winner.
Against the Anteaters, it was a case of deja-vu as Blanco netted the only goal of the game to seal it up for the Titans at home. Both teams played well defensively but it was Blanco’s positioning that made the difference against UCI. In the 83rd minute, Ramos sent a ball low into the box from the right corner that went Campbell’s legs and right to Blanco, who put it home into a wide open net.
UCI played well against the Titans, outshooting them 15-10 and maintaining a good amount of the possession over the course of the game. Fortunately for CSUF, junior goalkeeper Bryan Escalante was up for the challenge, making six saves for his first career shutout.
The Titans will have to keep up their superb play if they look to bring down a formidable CSUN team (12-5, 6-2 Big West). The Matadors’ most recent loss came at the hands of CSUF in a 5-4 thriller at Titan Stadium.
CSUN will look to exact revenge and will rely on sophomore forward Sagi Lev-Ari to keep on being their anchor offensively. In 17 games played, he leads the team in goals (16) and points (24). Sophomore forward Edwin Rivas and junior forward Beto Velasquez have also played well for CSUN. Rivas is second on the team with eight goals and 19 points, while Velasquez has seven goals and an assist thus far.
Ramos and senior forward Jesse Escalante lead the Titans with 16 points apiece. Escalante has accumulated seven goals and two assist, while Ramos has six goals and four assists. Bryan Escalante, Jesse’s younger brother has played well in the goal as he has 44 saves and a .650 save percentage.
The Titans play the Matadors at Titan Stadium tonight at 7:00 p.m.
For more information on the men’s soccer team, visit FullertonTitans.com.