How badly do they want a conference victory?
"Oh geez, if I can buy it I would," Titan Head Coach Bob Ammann said. "The players are extremely hungry."
The Titans (4-5-1, 0-2-0) will get two more shots at winning a conference game this week.
The Titans host defending conference champion Cal State Northridge tonight at 7 p.m. and then UC Riverside on Saturday, also at 7 p.m.
Both games are at Titan Stadium where the Titans are 1-2. They opened their home schedule with a 3-0 victory against Maine, but have lost to UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine, the last two times they played at Titan Stadium.
Ammann said the Titans have responded to the losses well in practice. He said the team has kept a good outlook and have a good chemistry.
Defender Amir Shafii said the veterans have been trying to keep practices positive and fun so the younger players don't get too discouraged.
"We just have to forget the last two games and move onto the next one," Shafii said. "We're not even worried about Riverside, we have to keep it one game at a time."
Already the Titans have done a couple of things last year's team never did.
The Titans already have two road victories this season, which are two more than last year, and with four wins this year they've matched last year's total.
Senior forward Eugene Brooks has scored six goals in the last four games. Brooks is the conference co-leader with seven goals - the team has scored 16 goals overall, they scored 20 all of last year.
The team is better than last year, Shafii said, they just haven't gotten the result they wanted.
"It's eating away at us," Shafii said about the close calls. "We feel like our turn is coming. The next two games are big for us, one for confidence and because we can get back into it."
Ammann said that it's too early to enter the panic zone.
"There's still a lot of soccer left, still a lot of games to be played and points to be taken," Ammann said. "We can still win this league and make a lot of news."
Cal State Northridge comes into the match a bit of an enigma.
The Matadors (3-3-4, 1-0-1) started the season with a 1-1 draw against nationally ranked UCLA, but followed that by losing three of their next four matches and then posting impressive victories against Santa Clara, 4-1, Santa Barbara, 5-0.
"You look at the result, and the results will show that from game to game they are hot and lukewarm," Ammann said. "They are not running away with it like they were last year."
The Matadors, conference champions in two of the last three seasons, had a 8-1-1 conference record last season. They beat CSUF three out of the last four times they've played at Titan Stadium and seven of the last nine times overall.
"I think it's going to be a different team what we've seen in the past, which is good," Shafii said. "We need to take advantage of that."
UC Riverside, like the Titans are winless in the Big West Conference. The Tigers (3-6-1, 0-1-1) are on a five-game winless streak.
UC Riverside last won a game on Sept. 28. In conference, they lost to UC Irvine 0-4 and had a 1-1 draw with the Matadors.