@ UCR 2-2 OT
Going to Riverside is always an adventure and boy this was one that I will definitely remember for a long time.
Since they don't have a proper gathering place for the away team to meet we are forced to change in the PE locker room and then have our pre-game meeting out on the field. The experience is kind of a throw back to Sunday league soccer and tends to minimize the usual excitement players have prior to a game.
UCR's old field was usually the worst surface we would play on all year. Although most players would prefer to play on real grass we were actually pleased to play on their new artificial field.
We started the game with Brent Douglas at home serving his suspension and Kevin Puder filling in his place. This was Kevin's first start in goal since Ohio State on the 16th of September.
Although we had what looked in numbers as our deepest bench 3 of the 6 players were injured. Amir Shafii, German Moreno and Mike Farfan were all incapacitated and unable to start the game. We did try to get some minutes out of all three but only Mike was able to really be productive.
I decided to put James Maynard in the starting lineup and play him up front. James is usually a defender who has played a total of about 30 minutes this season. His effort's in practice and his ability to get stuck in is something that I think we were sorely in need of and have been missing up front.
The game started with us giving up a weak goal 17 minutes in. Shay Spitz was a little impatient leaving his man to step to the ball. Unfortunately his player received the pass from midfield and went into the box uncontested pulling a ball across the 6 that bounced off a few players before eventually crossing the goal line.
Shay made amends for his defensive mistake 10 minutes before half by taking on a couple of UCR players down the left side and after cutting into the box drove a ball across that banged of the defenders leg and into the net. The goal would stand up until we took the lead in the 59 minute. James Maynard won a tackle on our side of the field before dishing it off and eventually getting it to Mike Farfan. Mike made a great solo effort getting into the box where he found James unmarked to slot it home and give us the 2-1 advantage.
The goal seemed to be the game winner until the unexpected and unbelievable happened. With less than a minute to play UCR fouled us outside our own box. Matt Sanders took the free kick knocking it deep into the UCR half and where it found Ryan Kaylor's feet. Ryan only needing to shield the ball while letting the seconds expire showed too much of the ball and had it go off him for a UCR throw. They quickly threw the ball in and knocked it into our half. As the announcer starts to count down the seconds Ben Hofstetter challenges and is called for a foul a few yards in our own half. The foul should have ended the game because the ball was cleared and there was no way that UCR could retrieve the ball, place it down and swing it in. However, while the ball is rolling away Freshman TJ Detviler kicks the ball away as the announcer gets to 1 second. Since he kicked it away the referee stopped the time, issued TJ a yellow for wasting time and added an additional 3 seconds on the clock.
While I was instructing Shay Spitz to get as close to the ball as possible and yelling at the referee for adding time on and allowing the placement of the ball to be about closer than it should have been, I didn't think to look at what was happening in our own box.
Rather than push everyone out to the top of the box as he should have Kevin Puder had everyone drop into the goal area. While most of the players including Kevin were being shoved, pulled and thrown the ball floated straight into the net untouched.
Many people that were down by the goal told me that there were numerous fouls against our players on the play but it really didn't matter because the official swallowed his whistle and we were now faced with overtime.
I was livid to say the least. If all the players except Kevin would have stepped off the field completely I don't think it would have been possible for them to score in 4 seconds.
This could have been a big momentum builder and jumped us past 3 teams in the standings. Instead we were faced with overtime and a highly energized and motivated bunch.
I didn't have much to say prior to the overtime. I was very concerned that the boys would roll over and give up. To their credit they didn't and although UCR had a few chances we had a number of them ourselves. We were also denied a clear penalty in the 2nd overtime after Mike Farfan was taken down in the box but no call given.
The game finished up 2-2 after double overtime but it felt like a loss. Very disappointing to have 3 points snatched away like that.
James Maynard was my "Man of the Match" for his work rate and goal.
@ UC Davis 2-1
Although we found ourselves at the bottom of the league prior to this game I honestly felt we were a couple of breaks away from challenging the top. Playing in Davis always presents a number of different challenges. We decided that the best thing for the players was to fly up and the best thing for the coaches was to have a bus rather than rent vans once we were there.
We left early Friday morning from campus on a bus to LAX. Our flight was at 10:00am getting us into Sacramento quarter past 11:00am. We had a bus waiting to take us to the hotel in Davis and then onto practice. It’s always important after bus rides and a flight to get the guys out on the training field to stretch the legs out and get the blood flowing a bit.
Once we got checked in and to the practice field the guys did a bit of jogging followed by a bit of stretching. After the warm-up we played a little 6 vs. 6 keep away prior to a spirited game a 6 vs. 6 to goal with keepers. It was a little more spirited than usual because I was playing and I never want to lose. Props to my team which consisted of Kevin Puder, Mike Farfan, Reid Baker, Amir Shafii, Jacob Shumway and Andres Jarquin. For those that are curious, we won.
After training we ate dinner at a local Italian restaurant in downtown Davis just walking distance from the hotel. After our meal we decided to go support the women’s volleyball team that were also in town playing Davis. We arrived finding our girls losing and in need of a spark. With loud chants and vocal support our ladies overcame the deficit and beat the Aggies in 5 games. The volleyball coaches were happy to take us back to the hotel since we had no vehicles and no way home.
Upon returning to the hotel around 9:45pm we walked to Subway to feed the boy’s and their always present appetite. After getting sandwiches everyone was off to their rooms.
We woke up and met downstairs Saturday at 8:45am for our pre-game breakfast at Café Italia. We had about a 10 minute walk each way which got the guys up and moving.
Since Davis doesn’t have locker rooms at the field we met downstairs in the hotel for our pre-game meeting. After our meeting we bussed directly to the field for our usual warm up routine.
It was still pretty fresh in our minds that Davis beat us twice last year and handily here in Davis. Although we feel that we could very easily be top of the table, opponents that haven’t seen us play surely aren’t frightened by our record. The Aggies were flying high after beating Northridge 3-1 on Wednesday and would surely be a formidable opponent. They have had a great year with a record of 7-3-2 and have only suffered one loss at home.
The team came out aggressive and pressed the game from the start. We created a number of good chances and looked to have possibly taken the lead when a shot struck the underside of the crossbar before bouncing down and finally getting cleared away. This was definitely a positive start and a sign of good things to come.
We ended 0-0 at the half. The defensive concern's were not allowing long balls to get in behind us and to be prepared for their long throw-ins.
Our positive play was rewarded 10 minutes into the half through a set piece goal by Shay Spitz. Shay's perfectly placed service found the inside of the back post while the keeper was forced to be concerned with the players trying to get on the end of it. It was Shay’s second goal of the year and just what the team needed.
Davis pushed forward and created a number of chances that eventually resulted in a foul by Skyler Thuresson about 5 yards outside the box in the 67 minute. The well struck shot banged in the upper corner to tie the game at 1-1.
The goal was a big relief for the Aggies as they did not expect to find themselves trailing late in the game, especially at home. The tying goal set up the further heroics of “Man of the Match” Shay Spitz.
Getting the ball with his back to goal in the 73 minute he split a couple defenders with a quick pull back and after taking a touch drove the ball past the keeper into the far post. The speed with which he executed the moved made it all possible - catching the keeper moving and unable to dive.
The score line would hold up and take us to our first league win where we find ourselves with 5 points with 5 league games remaining.
@ CS Northridge- 10/24/07 2:00pm
Northridge will be playing us for the second time this season after having split 1-1 on Oct 3 in Fullerton. The Matadors will be motivated and eager to get a result since they have yet to record a win in league.
Northridge has done well in their non conference games beating UCLA 3-0 and in their most recent game drawing at Maryland 1-1. They have an overall record of 4-3-5 and 0-1-3 in Big West play.
CS Bakersfield- 10/28/07 5:00pm
Bakersfield will be coming to Fullerton for the second meeting all-time. The first meeting was a Titan 8-0 victory that took place in 1982. CS Bakersfield is making the step from D-2 up to D-1 and has undertaken a schedule that finds themselves playing most of their games on the road. Their record is 3-8-4 overall having beaten St. Mary’s , Portland and Longwood all on the road. We have 5 common opponents on the year in Long Island at home 1-1, @ UCI 0-3, @ UCR 1-1, @ Cal Poly 0-1 and @ Ohio St. 0-1.
Bakersfield have unbelievably played 12 of their 15 games on the road. I anticipate a very hard fought game and difficult opponent. We will need to be prepared for a hard fought game because I am sure that they have gained some great experience and confidence playing this schedule.
Hope you can make it to the game.
Go Titans! Bob