Senior forward Giovanni Godoy flew two goals through for his second straight brace in an effort to rally back at CSUN (7-5-3, 2-2-2) Saturday night, but the comeback fell just short for the UC Irvine men’s soccer team (7-5-3, 2-2-2) as the squad fell, 3-2, for their second loss in conference play.
Six minutes after conceding a goal in the 18th minute, redshirt senior midfielder Mario Ortiz and junior forward Ivan Canales worked the ball quickly up the field and found Godoy hovering 20 yards away out — the place where he would go on to catch and fire for the equalizer.
With goal number 10 under his belt, Godoy nearly notched his 11th moments later on a two follow-up attacks, but the keeper was there to clear the first attempt while his second sailed a bit wide.
Redshirt sophomore Alex Waldron, who went on to deny five shots on the night, snagged three of those five in the opening half, including another Matador chance at a go-ahead conversion in the 28th minute.
Tied up 1-1, the Matadors were, again, first to the punch in the second half. Four minutes into the period, CSUN flew a cross a little within the 18th yard line where it was subsequently chipped in to put the Matadors up 2-1.
As both teams traded shots, things began to heat up as each team received their first yellow cards of the night. By the end of the match, a total of seven yellows would be called between the two squads, three for UCI and four for CSUN. 27 foul calls would also be blown, with 20 coming from the Highlanders.
On the 74th minute, the Matadors’ keeper sent one all the way down to sophomore defender Alex Lara for a header to get the Matadors to obtain a 3-1 distance.
Physical play continued well into the 84th minute as back to back yellows were called on both teams before the ‘Eaters earned a corner kick. On the ball in the 86th minute, Ortiz sent in the corner to Godoy who knocked in goal 11 for the year to bring the ‘Eaters back to a single point deficit, 3-2.
Approaching the final few moments, UCI would earn two corners but failed to create any chances as the Matadors secured the 3-2 win and successfully defended home field.
UCI and CSUN were nearly even in shot attempts, finishing with 11 and 12, respectively. The Matadors, however, struck the target eight times as UCI managed to lock for just four.
The ‘Eaters owned the advantage in corner opportunities, 10-2.
With the victory, the Matadors are now tied up with the ‘Eaters for first place, at eight points, in the Big West conference standings.
UCI will look for three points when they return to Anteaters Stadium Wednesday to face Cal State Fullerton (7-6-2, 2-2-2) for a 7:00pm kick off.