Pioneers chomped by Gators on home turf

Louis LaVenture,
News and Sports Editor

An early 1-0 lead was not enough to help the Cal State East Bay men’s soccer team beat San Francisco State.

CSUEB lost 3-1 to their conference rival on Sunday in Hayward, falling to 1-5 overall for the season and 0-2 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play so far.

The Pioneers dominated the ball early in the game and outshot SFSU 18-10. However, Gators junior goalkeeper Emmanuel Jimenez was able to stifle the CSUEB attack and racked up 6 saves in the win. SFSU improved to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in CCAA conference competition. The Pioneers found themselves unable to break out of their skid having lost their last five matches in a row.

We’re confident that we’ll be able to take this next step soon

Junior midfielder Victor Calderon got things started for CSUEB at the 11:34 mark when he nailed a close shot after a pass from his teammate and fellow junior midfielder Christian Gonzalez deflected off a Gator defender. Gonzalez and senior midfielder Chris Gaitan were both credited with the assist on the lone goal of the day for the Pioneers.

Less than four minutes later SFSU found the back of the net when junior midfielder Armando Flores found freshman midfielder Robert Kelly in front of the net who blasted a shot past CSUEB senior goalkeeper Adrian Topete to tie the game 1-1.

“We have to find open people and keep pushing,” SFSU sophomore Daniel Hererra said. “We missed some open chances.”

The scoring opportunities continued for the Pioneers in the second half and 12 minutes into the period CSUEB nearly scored but a slide tackle by a Gator defender stalled the scoring threat that could have tied the game. Several Pioneers complained to the referees that the tackle was illegal and should have drawn a foul.

“Referees are going to make good calls and make mistakes each game just like players,” CSUEB Head Coach Andrew Cumbo said. “I can’t comment on the specifics of that play but I definitely would have enjoyed tying the game at 2-2, rather than it being 3-1.”

Two minutes later Flores’ shot was deflected by Topete but the ball bounced off of the right post and in, which made the score 2-1 in favor of the Gators. Despite SFSU controlling the ball for a majority of the second half, the Pioneers still had some chances to score but could not finish those opportunities. With 12:57 left in the match SFSU junior midfielder James Aguirre blasted a header past Topete on a corner kick from freshman defender Nolan Parker that made the final score 3-1.

“We are clearly consistent in creating goal scoring opportunities, we are just struggling to finish,” Cumbo said. “It’s hard to score goals in this sport, but we are creating the chances which is a critical piece to the puzzle. We’re confident that we’ll be able to take this next step soon.”

That next step for the Pioneers will be tomorrow when they travel to La Jolla to take on the UC San Diego Tritons at 4:30 p.m. The Gators will travel to Seaside on Saturday to face the CSU Monterey Bay Otters at 11:30 a.m. who are 4-2 overall this season and 1-1 in CCAA Conference matches.