Assadi only let one minute go by after the Coyotes had tied the game before he retaliated with a goal to ensure the 2-1 win for the Gators.
“It came from a lot of hard work,” Assadi said of his goal. The game is the first regulation win for the team.
The Gators came out strong, holding possession on the Coyotes half of the field for most of the first half. A fortunate mishap for the Gators, in the 12 minute a San Bernardino player was called on a handball in the goal box, resulting in a penalty kick for SF State which allowed Luis Mendoza to score the first goal.
The Coyotes were persistent, desperately trying to even the score, but the Gators held a strong defensive line. SF State denied every attempt by the San Bernardino to form plays.
“We imposed ourselves,” head coach Joe Hunter said. “We didn’t give them a chance to find any rhythm.”
SF State had a chance for a second goal late in the first half, but the ball was saved last minute by a Coyote defender. Other attempts to finish crosses were unsuccessful by the Gators and several shots went over the net. San Bernardino attempts were also persistent; with 12 shots in the game, only two less than the Gators.
By halftime, SF State had a 1-0 lead.
“We came out with eyes open this game,” Hunter said, who noted he was happy with the way his team played.
The Coyotes finally pierced the Gator defense in the 69 minute during the second half. San Bernardino’s Julio Ayala, assisted by Ricky Prouty, scored the goal. SF State’s goalie, Eric Scolman, got a hand on the ball in an attempt to clear it over the goal. Unfortunately for the Gators, the ball was just short of the crossbar and the ball went in.
“I got a touch, but it wasn’t enough,” Scolman said.
Hope for the Coyotes was short-lived. Assadi struck back in the 70 minute when Kristian Fuentes assisted him with a through pass breaking the San Bernardino defense.
“We played more pressing and attacking up front,” Assadi said. “(We) are best when we build on the ball and try to play more directly like the way we worked today.”
The Gators held on for the rest of the game until the final whistle blew. The relentless defensive line of the Gators proved too much for the Coyotes.
SF State found a rhythm conducive to their success, which consisted of quick passing and high power up front attacking the middle.
“The game doesn’t have to be pretty,” Hunter said. “And you’re not going to trick anyone in this league. Sometimes you just have to show up, and work hard.”