The Gators fought back to overcome an early deficit and scraped a 2-2 draw against the Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles today.
Despite falling behind early in the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Gator men’s soccer team almost avenged a 2-1 overtime loss at Cox Stadium against the Golden Eagles.
The Gators were on the offensive early. The team maintained a strong attack by outshooting the Golden Eagles nine shots to three as they struggled to link up together and make clean passes.
“Give them credit for getting back into it,” head coach Joe Hunter said. “I thought throughout the whole game we were the better team.”
The first half of the game provided a missed opportunity in the box for senior Edgar Villagrana as he volleyed the ball just over the bar, a moment that made the crowd gasp quickly.
However, it was a tale of two halves for the Gators. In the first 10 minutes, the Golden Eagles mounted together an attack, with junior midfielder Oscar Carrillo assisting sophomore forward Jordan Payne, who shot calmly across the goal.
The game continued poorly for the Gators when junior Miguel Fernandez went down in the box and won a penalty for the Golden Eagles. The penalty was converted by senior Antti Arvola after senior goalkeeper Anthony Rodriguez stopped it on the strikers initial attempt.
When the Gators were down 2-0, the situation looked bleak, but the team rallied. They got a little home field advantage with the shape of the pitch.
“We knew we had an advantage playing on this field,” senior Jason Borges said. “Not many teams are used to playing in these sand pits. I was motivating our team, telling them ‘we have so many chances.’”
Sophomore Jorge Valadas managed to kick a goal from Borges in close range amid a cluster of defenders and attackers to make the game 2-1.
Borges, who found a blistering scoring form in this final homestand, then scored from close range after the shot hit the post and went in, making the game even at 2-2. This marked Borges’ third consecutive game where he scored.
“We’ve taken seven out of nine possible points,” Villagrana said. “We’ll have to see on Sunday to see how we can finish the season.”