After finishing last week undefeated in conference play, Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer will head to Cal State Northridge Wednesday at 7 p.m. for its penultimate regular season match.
The Titans (3-3-2) are currently in second place in the Big West’s southern division and a win against CSUN (4-2-2) would leave the two teams tied atop the grouping.
“We need to win against CSUN. We want to come out and play really hard,” said Titans midfielder Nicolo D’Amato.
The match will be the second time the Titans meet CSUN in the Big West Conference this season. In their first match, the teams walked off the field with a 0-0 draw Oct. 11.
Coming off of a Big West Offensive Player of the Week award, Titans forward Samuel Goni will face CSUN’s goalie Henrik Regitnig, the Big West Defensive Player of the Week. Goni is sure the Titans can break through to the back of the net this time if they turn their focus on completing shots.
“We played against them here and we tied … Because we missed chances. I think we have to keep working on our finishing,” Goni said.
He is in a five-way tie for third-most goals in the conference with seven, while the Titans have scored the fourth-most goals in the Big West (12) since entering conference play. CSUN has managed only 10.
The Titans have also done a better job sharing the ball than the Matadors, with 11 assists since entering conference compared to CSUN’s seven.
Emmanuel Usen Jr. leads the Matadors’ attack, as his season total of eight goals ranks second in the conference. His 19 total points are also the second best in the Big West.
The Matadors have shined in not allowing shots through the goal posts. The team ranks first in the Big West in conference play in average goals against (0.7) while also allowing the fewest total goals (6), half of the 12 the Titans have let in.
The Matadors are on a three-game winning streak heading into their matchup with the Titans, a streak that began right after the two last faced off. Since that game, the Matadors have defeated UC Irvine 3-2 and UC Riverside 1-0 before once again taking down UC Irvine 4-1.
Titans Head Coach George Kuntz said every game means more for the Titans with just two left in conference play. The Titans will have to prove themselves as the better scorers to snap the Matadors’ winning streak and prevent them from securing a second consecutive title in the Big West south division.
“It becomes epic. Every game becomes more amplified. We like to do things the hard way. So yeah, bring it,” Kuntz said.