Sunday night was repeated doses of deja vu disguised as a soccer game, as Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer continued scoring and was set to break through with its first home win of the season before the St. Francis’ Red Flash answered back.
Ultimately, CSUF was unable to get its first home win of the season at Titan Stadium, tying 2-2 with St. Francis in its fifth draw of the year, dropping the Titans record to 2-2-5 overall and leading to frustration within the team’s ranks.
“We just don’t have that desire yet. We don’t have that killer instinct, and some of our seniors got to step up and carry us because we don’t have no desire up there. Hopefully one of these days we’ll step it up,” said Titans freshman Edward Salazar.
The first time the Titans looked set to break through and collect a win came late in the first half, when midfielder Robert Coronado sent the ball sailing into the 18-yard box on corner kick and Daniel I Adoo scored his first goal of the season — and his Titans career — to give CSUF a 1-0 lead, looking like the Titans could come away with their first win of the season.
“It was a good result, but I would’ve preferred the win,” Adoo said.
Typical to this season, the Titans didn’t make it easy on themselves appearing almost unsure what to do with the lead when they came back from halftime. The Titans missed chance after chance as Samuel Goni and Charly Anguiano missed high, then Mark Hernandez hit the side netting on a shot from the left side of the goal.
St. Francis answered with a goal when Renan Fuentes scored in the 77th minute, sparking uneasy murmurs from the crowd.
That uneasiness appeared to be silenced for good when Salazar scored his first goal of the season minutes later, giving the Titans what appeared to be the winning goal. Until the 89th minute, when Red Flash leading scorer Mario Mastrangelo scored with one minute and 16 seconds left in the game, sending the game to overtime.
Both sides appeared out of gas in the two overtime periods. It was fatigue that would retain its undefeated record, as two extra periods filled with sloppy gambles and wild shots failed to result in a score for either side, leaving the Titans winless at home.
Salazar says the solution to the latter problem is simple.
“Just have more heart,” Salazar said. “I don’t think it’s anything tactically. We practice every day. We practice everything we can. We do everything we have to do but just at the end it just comes to having heart. Because if you don’t have heart, you ain’t going to go anywhere.”
George Kuntz, Titans head coach, was similarly left frustrated by his team’s inability to defend home turf for the full 90 minutes.
“This used to be our fortress…when you play at home there should be nobody that comes in and messes with you in your house, and I feel like people have messed with us in our house,” Kuntz said.
CSUF won’t have its next chance to defend its fortress until Saturday, Sept. 29 when they host San Francisco. The Titans next game will see them take on Loyola Marymount on the road Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.