The score nor any of the published reports gives a true feel for this game. It is a bitter pill to swallow for the team and staff given how well we played for 75 minutes of the game. We completely frustrated and denied them from getting into any rhythm or generating any offense. The didn’t have a shot on goal for the first 20 minutes while we had a number of quality chances to get on the scoreboard. We did a good job pressuring the ball and forcing the Gaucho’s into numerous turnovers. The first half ended with us out shooting the visitors 10-4 and dominating most of the play.
We felt that our enthusiasm and energy was both beneficial and harmful. It was definitely the reason we were forcing them into turnovers, dominating possession and creating the numerous scoring opportunities. The problem with it was that we didn’t show a lot of composure and often hurried our attempts in and around our attacking penalty box. If we would have done better with our finishing we could have been up 3 or 4 nil at half.
The plan for the second half was to keep up the energy level and capitalize on a few of our chances. We felt strongly that our game plan would continue to work and that they would continue to get frustrated.
The second half started similarly to how the first half was played. We were very good going forward while smothering any offensive push they threw at us. Most of their buildup was long balls played forward to their forwards that Matt Sanders and Ben Hofstetter did a great job of handling. Our midfield continued to win balls and start counters. Gabe Farfan and German Moreno continued to cause problems on the offensive end while limiting their buildup with good pressure on the ball.
Our hard work eventually paid off in the 65 minutes as a good through ball found a rushing German Moreno who rounded the keeper after being challenged just inside the box. German’s first attempt on goal was blocked by a defender on the near post but it came right back to him where he found Shay Spitz about 8 yards out who, with a quick turn, poked the ball into the upper half of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The goal energized the boys and seemed to further took the wind out of Santa Barbara. For the next 10 minutes we continued to press the game and looked well on our way to possibly doubling the score. Gabe Farfan got behind the defense where he was eventually taken down by the last defender who was subsequently shown the red card. It turned out that the red card was the worst thing that could have happened. I could sense that the players felt that we had won the game even though many times this season while we played a man down we dominated the action. Apart from a cross that we saved on the back post the Gaucho’s produced nothing that caused us any problems up to this point in the game.
In the 75th minute, 1 minute after going up a man a shot that looked to not even be going on frame even the score. The goal was a fluke. Tony Terrazas and the Gaucho player hit the ball almost simultaneously deflecting the ball and creating tremendous spin that clipped up and over Brent Douglas who was stranded. Out of nowhere and absolutely nothing they got back into the game. The dejection was evident. The adrenaline that was carrying us into the last minutes of the game seemed to be gone. Our lack of depth made this even more of an issue. The goal jumpstarted the Gauchos who suddenly after been dead for 75 minutes found renewed life and an opportunity. Our midfield that was a strength up to this point started to get outplayed. The pressure eventually led to a corner 4 minutes later that we seemed to think was a time to rest rather than a dangerous situation that we needed too prepare for. An uncontested ball was knocked home on the front post giving UCSB a shocking 2-1 lead.
This game and the season to this point have been very similar. We have played extremely well but did poorly with all of our scoring opportunities. Soccer can be a very cruel game at times no more so than this game. We dominated every facet of this game for the first 75 minutes but came away with nothing in the end. It is very disappointing knowing how close we have been to having a year to remember.
UC Davis Fri 11/16 7:00pm
This game will be the last opportunity for a number of players to play in front of their friends and family in Titan Stadium. UC Davis will be a very motivated team. They haven’t lost since we beat that in Davis on 10/20 and are looking at this game with NCAA ramifications. They are currently sitting tied for second place in league with an overall record of 11-4-2. We will need to be focused and ready like we were Saturday night. I think that Davis will be much more motivated than UCSB was because they have some much on the line. Our league deserves at least 3 teams in the tournament and we want them to go but hopefully with one more loss on their record.
UC Davis Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer quotes on our game: "The only thing that matters is the conference championship. If we're fortunate enough to win our final two games, then we might be in a position to get an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. Our conference is so difficult and everybody is so good, the bottom teams could beat the top teams without question. (Cal State) Fullerton is a really good team. They are going to be ready and prepared to play us. We need to just keep playing hard and smart. I have confidence in our team and I feel like we're good enough to be considered for postseason. It's an opportunity to get one back and go play in a nice facility at night. We have a lot to play for and I'm just asking my team to play the best that they can.
@ SLO Sun 11/18 1:00pm
SLO will be our last game of the 2007 season and a game that we will badly want to win. We feel that we were unfortunate to have lost to them in our first meeting and that we are a much better team than the one they faced back in September. SLO will also be looking at this game with an eye to the playoffs. They currently have a 10-3-4 record with two of the three losses coming in league. Davis beat them in their last game 3-2. In their last 6 games they have 1 win 2 losses and 3 draws. Our goal is to win out finishing the season winning 5 of our last 7 games.