No, CSUF men’s soccer is not in season — in fact, they won’t be back in any major action until fall 2019 — but on Wednesday afternoon, all eyes were on the Titans as reigning Major League Soccer Cup champions, Atlanta United Football Club, took the field in a scrimmage at Titan Stadium.
The freshly groomed pitch housed players and coaches ranging from career professionals to collegiate hopefuls.
Sounds of players barking orders and balls thudding across the field, captivated the sparsely populated stadium, which may have been particularly bare because of the last minute nature of the match, something CSUF men’s soccer head coach, George Kuntz, alluded to in a postgame interview.
A typical soccer game would feature 45 minutes in each half, however Atlanta and CSUF would settle for 40-minute halves in this particular matchup.
Halfway through the dead-locked match, the Titans’ back four fell flat-footed against a through-ball serviced by Atlanta United FC midfielder, Andrew Carleton. The threaded pass caught the trailing left foot of Atlanta forward, Romario Williams, giving the 5-foot 11-inch striker a golden opportunity in front of the net.
Williams settled the ball for a split-second in front of the CSUF goalkeeper, Paul-Andre Guerin, but did not wait long to put the ball in the back of the net and break open the scoring for his team.
The interclub friendly drew to a close with Williams’ goal being the ultimate decider in a 1-0 win for Atlanta United FC’s reserve team.
After the game, CSUF players Sam Molz and Rei Dorwart seemed to be unanimous in their assessment of the match, noting that they felt “organized defensively,” but lacked more cohesive offensive production.
Kuntz seemed to have a more positive outlook, despite the score. ,
“For us it was tremendous just to have the game. It means a lot because we want guys to know that they’re going to get a degree; they’re going to get exposure,” said Kuntz. “This time of year it’s not a factor for either team, win or loss, they’re trying to see where they’re at, where they’re young players are at, and we’re trying to see where our team is at.”
This won’t be the last game the Titans play against a professional caliber team. Kuntz has plans to play against the United Soccer League’s Orange County SC and the U-17 Mexican national team in the near future.