The Cal State Fullerton men's soccer team managed to squeeze out a 1-1 tie against Big West Conference rival Cal State Northridge, despite having to play part of the match one man down.
CSUN came out strong, scoring a goal in the second minute when sophomore forward Sunghyun Kim connected on a one-timer from junior defender Robert Pate.
Titan Head Coach Bob Ammann wasn't pleased that his Titans were caught sleeping, but he was proud of how his team reacted to the early goal.
"The first goal was a mistake by Tyler, but he's extremely green and he's been put in a tough situation," Ammann said. "The way that we recovered and took the game to them, I can't say enough of how proud I am of the team and how they played."
Although the CSUN Matadors drew first blood, the Titans dominated the first half of play and much of the game. The Titans had plenty of opportunities to score in the first half, taking eight shots on goal and five corner kicks.
After continuing to apply pressure, the Titans finally scored in the 25th minute on a free kick taken by sophomore Michael Farfan. Sophomore Matt Sanders managed to connect with the pass, scoring his first career goal on Matador keeper Kevin Guppy, tying the game in the process.
Head Referee Fabio Tovar allowed both teams to play physical, which led to hot tempers and hard fouls throughout the game. In all, the Matadors committed 21 fouls compared to the Titans' 14.
The physical play would erupt in the 77th minute when a questionable tackle led to a skirmish between the two teams, resulting in the ejection of Titan senior defender German Moreno.
"It was a tough game. They kept on fouling us the whole time," Moreno said. "The guy came up to me and pushed me and I just tried to get him off of me."
For the remainder of the game the Titans were forced to play a man short, but continued to play strong.
"I think [the officiating] inevitably cost us the game," Ammann said. "Clearly, how their players reacted deserved more than just a talking to."
The Matadors almost stole the game in the first overtime when junior forward Moy Gomez took off on a break away, but he shanked the potential game winning ball over the cross bar.
The Titans took more shots, earned more corner kicks, and had less fouls than the now 4-2-2 Matadors.
Another good sign was the solid performance of freshman keeper Tyler Andrews, who was forced into a starting role after the injuries of first string keeper Brent Douglas and backup Kevin Pruder.
After the game the Titans were still upset about the ejection of Moreno, lamenting the fact that no red card was given to a Matador player.
"When somebody retaliates and comes onto the field, that should be automatic," Pruder said. "That's not in the run of play. That's just bad sportsmanship."
The Titans are now 4-5-1 after losing a close 1-0 road game Saturday against defending national champion UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos were ranked 12th in the nation coming into the match, and were on the heels of back-to-back 4-0 wins.
The Titans were able to cool the UCSB offense, but could not tab a goal of their own. Gauchos' junior Chris Pontius scored the only goal of the match in the 78th minute, his fourth goal in the last four matches.
CSUF's next home game is scheduled for Wednesday against UC Riverside. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Titan Stadium.