The SF State men’s soccer team broke their five game scoreless streak, but still came up short against the California State University Dominguez Hills Toros, losing 1-2.
The Gators played a competitive and fierce game against top conference opponent CSUDH, but two key defensive mistakes contributed to the loss.
The Gators scored first in the game on a free kick by midfielder Ashley Watson. After a foul by the Toros in the 35th minute, Watson launched a powerful shot on a set-piece from 25 yards out, putting the ball in the upper left corner.
The goal was Watson’s first of the season, and his first in an SF State uniform.
“I saw I was the one on the field to take the kick, and it was a relief to see it go in,” Watson said. “The goalkeeper was playing near the middle of the goal, and I was able to arc it in. It’s a burden of our shoulders to get that first goal in awhile.”
The Gators would go into halftime up 1-0, only to see their lead evaporate in the second half.
In the 51st minute, Gator goalkeeper Emmanuel Jimenez did not pick up a ball that he thought was going to go out of bounds. A Toros forward flew towards the ball, and saved it from going out. Jimenez was at least five yards away from the goal. Center back Max Talbert was forced to pull the Toros player down to stop a wide-open shot, and received a yellow card as a result.
The Toros received a penalty kick, and CSUDH defender Tony Alfaro scored the game-tying goal on the shot, drawing the contest even at 1-1.
“We made a really big goalkeeper error on the first goal,” said Gator head coach Matt Barnes. “You can’t take a minute off in the conference because the top 25 teams will punish you for mistakes.”
Three minutes after the Toros initial goal, they scored again off a shot 15 yards out by midfielder Joey Chica in the 54th minute.
Jimenez was subsequently benched six minutes after he allowed the second goal, and Daniel Boyer came into the game to replace him.
“I thought (Jimenez) was rattled after allowing the goals,” Barnes said. “The first goal was a huge mistake, and the second goal was one that could’ve been saved. His confidence was shaky, so we wanted to give him a breather.”
Boyer didn’t allow any goals once he came into the game.
“Coming in right away, you can’t let the lack of time in the game affect you,” Boyer said. “You can’t come in flat. I tried to command the back-line once I was in, because we were a little riled up after allowing those two goals.”
The Gators tried to push the tempo late in the game, but ultimately where unable to find an elusive second goal to tie the contest.
“This game goes to show that at least we’re headed in the right direction,” Barnes said. “We played well against the sixth best team in the nation and will look at it as invaluable experience for our team.”
The loss gives the Gators a 1-5-3 conference record on the season. They have three more games left to play, and their next game is at home on Friday Oct. 23 against the Cal State Bernadino Coyotes.