CS Northridge 0-1
Once again we suffered a difficult 0-1 Big West loss. This is the fourth such loss and magnifies our need for a goal scorer. We played the game without one of our starting centerbacks, Matt Sanders, who was sitting out due to his card accumulation. German Moreno stepped in for him and did a great job helping limit Northridge to only 3 chances on goal the entire game.
Our best chance of the first half came from a corner that found Ben Hofstetter's head but unfortunately was saved on the line by a Northridge player. I thought we dominated the first half producing a number of shots and forcing 3 corners. CSUN had no corners by halftime and Brent was forced to make only 1 save.
Even though we had the better possession and more quality chances we ended up short on the scoreboard after giving up a goal on a shot from about 25 yards in the 50th minute. The boys pressed and looked for the equalizer but unfortunately came up a bit short.
CS Bakersfield 3-1
I was concerned coming into this game because we have had such a difficult time finding any consistency scoring and that because it was a non league opponent that we might take them a bit lighter than we should. I was pleased to have a few more players available and would look to changing some things up.
I decided to change up the lineup and move some players around. Although still nursing an injury I moved Amir Shafii to an uncustomary midfield position and German Moreno into an even more uncustomary position up front.
The decision paid dividends in the fifth minute when a shot by German was blocked in the box and deflected out to an onrushing Amir who banged it into the back of the net from about 30 yards to make the score 0-1.
The lineup decisions seemed to look even better when in the 23 minute German ran onto a through ball where his initial shot from an angle was saved by the keeper. The rebound however bounced into the air where he was alert and hungry enough to challenge a back tracking defender and head the ball over the dazed keeper doubling the score to 2-0.
In the locker room at half I challenged the players to keep a clean sheet and to score at least one more goal surpassing the most goals we have scored in a game all season.
It only took fourteen minutes to lose out on the first challenge as a cross to the near post six found the foot of a charging Roudrunner where it was redirected past Brent Douglas.
The team did answer the final challenge with a nice goal by Shay Spitz in the 88 minute to seal the victory. It was Shay's fourth goal of the season and have all come in the past four games.
The 3 goals we scored tied the second most goals that Bakersfield had given up all season and the most they had conceded in their past 11 games.
@ UCI Sat 11/3/07 7:00pm
We should be very well rested and eager to play after a week off since our last game. I think the team is motivated to make amends for the last meeting between the two schools. We played a man down for a long period of the 1st game after Brent Douglas’s red card and still feel that we let the result get away from us and that we deserved more. We played well defensively limiting their attack but unfortunately made two mistakes that resulted in the goals (1 a penalty the other the overtime winner).
Even though UCI are struggling( 1-5-4 in past 10 games) and have definitely come down from their great start, they have given us trouble the past few seasons so we know that we will have to play well to get the result we want.
We presently sit tied with UCI with 5 points a piece and with a win would also jump past Northridge and Riverside who each have 7 points and behind the 3 teams that we still have left to play(UCSB, UCD & SLO).
The Big West Conference is just what we had anticipated at the start of the season, very tough and extremely competitive from top to bottom. We have had at least 3 or 4 teams ranked in the West Region for most of the season and currently 2 in the Top 20 Nationally. Our close losses in league have affected the psyche and to a degree the confidence of the team and players. We have played very well which makes it such a tough pill to swallow. We have lost a total of 5 league games, 4 by 0-1 scores and the other 1-2 in overtime.
I have to say that I have been pleased with our play defensively and the fact that we have really limited our opponents quality opportunities. Unfortunately, we have had a difficult time putting the ball in the back of the net which leaves a very small window for error. There is a lot to be taken from the fact that even with the large number of injuries and lineup changes we have only been beaten twice in the 11 games that we have scored in.
We are starting to get players back healthy and will look to build on the offensive performance that we had in our game versus Bakersfield.