Mens soccer team scores win during first game of the season


SF State Gators Men’s Soccer players celebrate forward Jakob Velega’s goal against the University of Missouri – St. Louis Tritons at Cox Stadium Friday, September 4. (Xpress / David Henry)

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The SF State men’s soccer team won their first game of the season at Cox Stadium Friday, defeating the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons 1-0 in a contest that remained 0-0 until the second half.

“We didn’t play exactly the way we wanted, but we found a way to win,” said Gators head coach Matt Barnes.

The only goal of the game was scored in the 52nd minute by senior forward Jakob Velega on a pass from senior forward Sam Merritt. Velega split two defenders and scored from 10 feet outside the box.

“I toe-curled the ball,” Velega said. “The goalie blocked a piece of it but it still went in.”

Gators goalkeeper Emmanuel Jimenez blocked all five shots on goal.

“(I’m) really happy with how we played today,” Jimenez said. “The defense is the heart of this team. I wouldn’t want any other four center backs in the world in front of me.”

The biggest scare for the Gators’ defense came in the first half, when the Tritons had a shot bounce off the goalpost and into the arms of Jimenez.

“(The Tritons) got the second ball in the box, which is really dangerous,” Jimenez said. “I told our guys we had to step it up after that.”

The Gators start the season with a win, but Barnes said there is still a lot of room for improvement as the season progresses.

“(I’m) happy with the win, but we gave the ball away too much,” Barnes said. “There will be some adjustments for the next game.”