Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer team lost their home opener, 2-1, in overtime on Friday night against No. 15 Loyola Marymount University.
Fullerton came into the matchup on a two-game losing streak, while LMU has been undefeated so far this season.
Titans’ forward Mario Gomez was suspended after receiving a red card in the last match and was not able to play, but midfielder Samuel Owusu contributed in his season debut.
The opening 10 minutes of the match saw four fouls go against the Titans and only a single shot on goal by LMU that was saved by the Titans’ goalkeeper Jose Espino.
In the 13th minute, Owusu, who was left open, hit a header off the corner kick to give his team the opening goal of the match and his first career goal for CSUF.
After Owusu’s goal, the Titans gained confidence in their attack and had two shots on goal that were saved by LMU’s goalkeeper Jacob Jackson. Espino tallied two more saves to keep the Titans ahead in the match.
CSUF led the game until the 31st minute when midfielder Kyle Kirkland committed a foul in the box that led to a penalty kick for LMU. The penalty was converted by midfielder Noel Caliskan to tie the match, 1-1.
The Titans were kept at bay by Jackson with two further saves.
In the first half, Cal State Fullerton defender Edward Salazar received a costly yellow card. Four minutes into the second half, Salazar received his second yellow of the match and was sent off. The resulting red card left the Titans down to 10 players for the rest of the contest.
Although LMU kept attacking after Salazar was sent off, the Titans’ defense shored up as they were defending with eight men behind the ball and a sole striker up top trying on the offense.
Espino cleared out a cross and made a save off the rebound to keep the score tied, 1-1, at the 77th minute.
Toward the end of the half, LMU’s Creggton Charlton had a shot in the box that was deflected off a Titan defender on to the post, which kept CSUF in the match. Two minutes later the whistle blew and the teams headed into overtime.
Although Espino had a great game in which he had five saves, he unfortunately allowed a shot through in the seventh minute of overtime by forward Creggton Charlton, which resulted in the match-winning goal..
CSUF’s head coach George Kuntz said after the match that his team showed a lot of heart even with the odds stacked up against them.
Now on a three-match losing streak and still looking for their first win of the season, the Titans must regroup and get ready for the upcoming two-match road trip against Air Force and the University of Denver on Friday and Sunday.