The Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer team initiated a two-game winning streak after a game-winning goal from freshman Owen Lambe placed them 2-1 over the first-place UC Irvine Anteaters on Wednesday night at Titan Stadium.
The match marked the Titans’ first game back with home field advantage after going 1-1 on the road against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Sacramento State. Their most recent matchup against the Sacramento State Hornets resulted in their first win after undergoing a five-game losing streak that began on the road against James Madison.
Juniors Alex Juarez and Rei Dorwart each recorded their first goal of the season in the matchup that went into double overtime. Dorwart ended the stalemate with the first goal of the game in the 52nd minute with an assist from redshirt senior Oscar Flores. In the 109th minute, Juarez scored the game-winning goal in the tedious matchup.
The Titans executed a strong offense against the Hornets, recording a total of 15 shots, nine of which were on goal. The team initially failed to carry that same offensive pressure into the matchup with UC Irvine, recording four shots in the first half with only one being on target.
CSUF also lost the possession battle in the first half as they had possession 45% of the half to UC Irvine’s 55% total time with control. Flores emphasized the team’s energy as the reason for their poor play up the field.
“The intensity of the team was very low to start off the game,” Flores said.
The UCI Anteaters quickly established their stance with a score from freshman midfielder Roberto Molina in the 20th minute. UC Irvine wrapped up the first 45 with nine shots and four corner kicks.
The momentum shifted almost immediately into the second half after a penalty kick from Flores in the 53rd minute evened the score and marked the midfielder’s sixth goal of the season. Sixth year head coach George Kuntz explained how halftime adjustments helped elevate their second half play.
“We kind of switched guys around so we had a little more pressure on their outside backs because their outside backs were killing us,” Kuntz said.
The game-winning goal was assisted by Flores and sophomore Edward Salazar and marked the first in Lambe’s Titan career. After enduring injuries at the beginning of conference play, the coach and team had to put pressure on other players to make big plays.
“Coach really emphasized putting a lot of numbers forward into the box. New players are taking runs into the box, getting into good spots and it’s paying off,” Lambe said.
Despite it’s early season success, CSUF slipped to last in the conference in a three way tie with UC Riverside and CSU Northridge. With the win and two games left in the season, the opportunity to advance to the postseason is still in sight.
“Keep it rolling,” said Kuntz. “Do what we do best.”
They will see their next opponent UC Davis at Titan Stadium Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.