By Juan Saucedo
Daily Titan Staff Writer
Opening a season on the road is always tough, but it could be even harder. Just ask the Cal State Fullerton menâ€™s soccer players and Head Coach Bob Ammann.
Since spring training, coaches and players knew that they would have to embark in an almost Homer-like odyssey â€“ opening the season by facing five straight opponents on foreign turf.
Yet, the Titans have partially met the challenge so far. The team posted a 1-1-0 record by handing Penn State (2-1) its only loss in the team’s season opener, but then falling in a heartbreaker to Ohio State (2-0-2) at the Wolstein Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
â€œWe dominated three-quarters of the games, and we didnâ€™t play our best soccer,â€ Ammann said.
Up next for the Titans are matches against the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (1-2-0), on Friday in the opening round of the Cal State Northridge Tournament at 1:30 p.m. The team will then face Fairleigh Dickinson University (2-0-0) on Sunday in a second game at the tournament at 11 a.m.
CSUF will end its opening road trip against UCLA (1-1), on Thursday, Sept. 17, in Los Angeles before playing at home against Saint Maryâ€™s College.
This is the roughest challenge that awaits the Titans, who will have to play their best in three more games on the road before playing the first home game on Sept. 20.
Ammann, who believes his squad has what it takes to make a run at the playoffs, said this five-game stretch of road matches will give him a fair assessment of how his team will do the rest of the year.
This five-game road trip that starts the 2009 season is only the third time since 1991 that the program has started a campaign on the road and away from the support of the home fans.
Forward Jamall Farquharson, however, is an example of how the players are thinking positively about the trip.
He said he feels the team trained well and that theyâ€™re prepared for the task at hand. He thinks the team could come out of this trip with a winning record.
â€œWeâ€™re no stranger to travel,â€ said Farquharson, in a telephone interview. â€œWe traveled a lot last year.â€
He said the road trip will show people how different the team is from last year and how they have grown. The team has a winning mentality. â€œWe are a different team and we have a different mentality,â€ he said.
Goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon said he expects the team to improve on last weeks results. He thinks theyâ€™ll to do better at the Cal State Northridge tournament this weekend.
â€œWe have a pretty good chance to win it,â€ Whiddon said.
He said the atmosphere at the UCLA game will be tougher to play in than any of the other three games but that he feels coach Ammann will get them ready for the Bruinsâ€™ home fans.
â€œWe obviously like to play at home but its not a new thing,â€ he said.