The UC Irvine Men’s Soccer team came out hungry for a win in their Big West home-opener against Cal State Northridge. However, the Anteaters fell short to the Matadors with a 4-1 defeat at Anteater Stadium on Oct. 15.
‘I thought the team played very well for 80 minutes, but didn’t play so well in the last 10 to 15 minutes of the game,’ said Head Coach George Kuntz.
Junior midfielder Anthony Vizcarra produced the first yellow card of the game for the Anteaters (3-7, Big West 0-1) at the 3:24 mark. Later, the Matadors (7-1-2, 1-0-1) picked up their own yellow card at 10:27 by freshman forward Jesse Servin.
Although the Anteaters fouled out early in the first half of the game, they quickly bounced back by attempting to make a goal. This shot was the beginning of many that contributed to the Anteater’s shooting streak against the 20th-ranked Matadors.
However, CSUN showed no mercy as they deflected several of Irvine’s attempts to make a goal.
‘We were getting the shots and we were creating chances. We just weren’t putting them in,’ said junior forward Sebastian Galmarini.
At the 33:38 mark, the Matadors captured their first goal by sophomore midfielder Daniel Paladini.
This did not faze the Anteaters as they continued to battle the Matadors for the remainder of the first half. Still, by halftime, Cal State Northridge led 1-0. But it was still anyone’s game.
Both teams came out fierce in the second half, intensifying the atmosphere of the game.
Galmarini made a goal with an assist by senior defender Chris Ruiz, which finally put UCI on the board.
‘We just kept [taking shots] and finally we got a goal. The momentum shifted on our side. We should have won,’ Galmarini said.
The score remained tied for most of the second half. Sophomore goalie Ryan Mathy made a blind save for the Anteaters with less than 15 minutes left in the game.
But the game was far from over.
With less than 10 minutes left, the Matadors put three goals in the net. The last goal was made with only eight seconds remaining on the clock by Matador sophomore midfielder Gianni Facio.
‘The second goal broke it open for [the Matadors],’ Kuntz said.
‘We needed to take advantage during the first half. We weren’t getting ourselves in there,’ said junior midfielder Efrain Salcedo. ‘We just need to step it up a little bit more and be accurate in our opportunities.’
Galmarini thought his team played strong and composed for 80 percent of the game.
‘It’s just the last 10 minutes we just let down. They caught us off guard and got some lucky breaks,’ Galmarini said.
The game ended with the Anteaters sustaining a few injuries. Vizcarra was momentarily taken out of the game in the first half and a Matador as well in the second half.
‘You sometimes leave yourself vulnerable. I thought we out-shot this team and we outplayed this team until the last 10 minutes. That was the difference,’ Kuntz said.
The Anteaters will face the Matadors one more time in conference play and they feel that the outcome in the next match will be different.
‘We’ll play [Cal State Northridge] again,’ Galmarini said, believing UCI will come out on top next time.
As for the rest of the season, expectations are high and improvement and victory are in the Anteaters’ vision. Kuntz has high hopes for his team.
‘I’m proud of the future of this team. We think that this is a very good young team for years to come,’ Kuntz said. ‘It’s just right now we are building on each game. We know that they’re going to be successful.’