Los Angeles Soccer: Jessica Murphy
Now he's back with the Sounders, taking the next step in his journey to being a full-fledged professional.
Steres (Calabasas/Calabasas HS), who starred at San Diego State, was taken by Seattle in last week's college-waiver draft and headed over the weekend to Washington.
“We're getting the contract [sorted out], and then working my way up to get a starting role, obviously,” Steres told ESPN Los Angeles after the Fusion's 2-1 victory Friday evening over Orange County Blue Star. “Sounds like they're excited to have me come in. I'm excited to go in.”
Steres, probably a center back or right back in MLS, lost out in numbers games during preseason at Chivas and, after his release by the Goats, in Seattle. He's been superb for the Fusion, bolstering the backline next to Mickey Daly (Cal State L.A.) or Tim Pontius (Yorba Linda/Servite HS and UC Santa Barbara) or teaming with former Chivas USA/Portland Timbers midfielder Rodrigo Lopez (Santa Barbara/Santa Barbara HS) in central midfield.
The Fusion (6-1-1) are atop the Southwest Division after rallying for a 2-1 win against Blue Star at Concordia University. Travis Bowen (Van Nuys/Chatsworth HS), the older brother of Chivas USA forward Tristan Bowen, scored both goals -- his fourth and division-best fifth of the season -- with the winner coming in the 76th minute.
Ventura is one point ahead of FC Tucson, which visits the Fusion next weekend.
Pontius, the younger brother of D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius, also is getting some MLS attention. The big center back, a Sounders draft pick, has been in camp the past week with the Galaxy. He says playing with the Fusion has helped prepare him.
“College is one thing,” he said. “College prepares you for the next step. This is kind of the in-between phase between college and pros. You've got a lot of players here who can make the next step.”
He said his time with Sounders in preseason was “spectacular.”
“Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me, but at the end, I gained a lot of experience out of that opportunity,” Pontius said. “Spots were tight there, so there's only so much you can do. You play your game, if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. You try the next one.”
Elsewhere in minor-league soccer:
This is an exciting time for the Women's Premier Soccer League, just not on this coast.
With Women's Professional Soccer officially dead, as of Friday morning, the 15-year-old semipro/amateur outfit is stepping into the void and embracing, in small steps, full professionalism. The WPSL Elite, an eight-team league that includes three former WPS teams (defending champion Western New York Flash, Boston Breakers and Chicago Red Stars), is the big focus for the league in 2012, with plans to form a division on the West Coast next year.
That leaves this year in a bit of flux, especially with reigning WPSL champ Orange County Waves dropping out after losing their money source. The Pacific-South Division is down to four teams, and they'll play a modest schedule -- six league games, a few crossovers against Northern California clubs, plus whatever friendlies they can scrounge up -- well out of the usual WPSL limelight, as it were.
“We have gone through a major upheaval, and a lot of our regions have shifted around,” league commissioner Jerry Zanelli, who also runs Sacramento-based powerhouse California Storm, told ESPN Los Angeles in an email. “We are having teams in the Pacific Division step out for a year to re-tool to enter the WPSL Western Elite Division next year.”
Only Rolling Hills' Ajax America, Los Alamitos-based L.A. Vikings and the San Diego SeaLions return to the Pacific-South, with Long Beach's Beach Futbol Club joining in. Gone, too, are the Claremont Stars and Pasadena-based LAFC.
The Waves are the big loss. They had a mix of WPS veterans and top amateurs, posted a 14-1-3 record and pulled out the championship game against Chicago on an overtime goal from Tanya Taylor (Buena Park/Sunny Hills HS and UC Irvine).
“The CEO decided not to do the Waves, to just concentrate on [sister club Bay Area] Breeze,” said Waves head coach/GM Abner Rogers, who guided the L.A. Sol to the regular-season title in the inaugural 2009 WPS campaign. “He informed us in December and said he'd help us as much as he could, but there's no financial backing.”
The Waves approached youth clubs in the region about sponsorship -- Rogers directs powerhouse Laguna Hills Eclipse -- but was unable to acquire what was needed to continue on. There is hope of a return next year to play in the Western Elite Division, but no telling if it's doable.
Pacific-South play kicks off Friday night at Long Beach State, with Beach FC taking on the L.A. Vikings.
A look at the three local teams:
UCLA's Chandler Hoffman scored goals by the bunches on a quest to go home. Nadia Link netted nearly as many to take Long Beach State to unprecedented heights. Christian Ramirez dazzled for Concordia. And Fabiola da Silva prodded Cal Baptist to a national championship.
We selected men's and women's teams, one for players from 10 local NCAA Division I institutions and another for players from 24 NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and unaffiliated schools.
Our coaches of the year in Division I are Junior Gonzalez, who led the remarkable turnaround by UC Riverside's men, and Tim Ward, whose Pepperdine women were a top-five team during the regular season. In the lower divisions, it's Ralph Perez, who took Redlands' men to 20 wins and NCAA Division III third-round berth, and Kristen St. Clair, who presided over a superb transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, with the Pacific West Conference title and National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association Division I national crown.
The freshmen of the year: Cal State Northridge's Edwin Rivas and UCLA's Abby Dahlkemper in D1, Cal Baptist's Michael Salazar and Cal Lutheran's Taylor Will in D2/D3/NAIA.
Here are our inaugural postseason all-star teams:
As the college soccer season hits its stretch drive, let's take a look at some of the most dominant players in Southern California this year, no matter the division.
Here are 10 who enjoyed marvelous campaigns:
- LUIS GONZALEZ
Who is he? Senior striker from Long Beach (Millikan HS), the national JC Player of the Year at Cerritos College and soon-to-be two-time All-American in two seasons with the Broncos.
What has he done? Scored 14 goals this year and 26 in two seasons at Cal Poly Pomona, winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association's Most Valuable Offensive Player award this fall.
Coachspeak: “I equate Luis Gonzalez to Magic Johnson,” Broncos coach Lance Thompson said, “and I do that because a heard a story about Magic where he was playing for his youth basketball team and they were winning and he was jumping for joy and excited and couldn't figure out why his teammates were so depressed. Well, if the team scored 70 points, he scored 68, and he learned a valuable lesson of giving and getting others involved so they could contribute, and he became one of the best assist guys ever. That's Luis. Luis takes more pride and has more joy in getting teammates involved than he does in scoring. And the more he gave, the more he received. That's what sets him apart over any other student-athlete I've coached.”
- COCO GOODSON
Who is she? Senior center back from Ramona (San Diego County), a University of Texas transfer expected to repeat as a Division I All-American.
What has she done? Set the standard at the back to lead the Anteaters to back-to-back Big West Conference titles, an NCAA sweet 16 appearance last year, and a return to the NCAA tournament this fall.
Coachspeak: “Coco's unique,” Anteaters coach Scott Juniper said. “She is the strongest player that I've seen in women's soccer. She strikes a ball better than many of the male players I've worked with, and she is just a relentless competitor. She's totally unique, and there isn't another player out there like her.”
College all-conference teams are starting to show up, and several local players (and one coach) are winning awards.
All four players of the year in the Big West Conference are with local schools. Long Beach State's Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) is the Offensive Player of the Year and Shawna Gordon (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS) is Midfielder of the Year.
All-American CoCo Goodson of UC Irvine is the Defensive Player of the Year, and Cal State Northridge's Cynthia Jacobo (Arleta/Granada Hills HS) is Goalkeeper of the Year.
West Coast Conference co-champion Pepperdine was honored with the conference's Coach of the Year, for Tim Ward, and Freshman of the Year, for Lynn Williams.
The Most Valuable Offensive Player in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, for NCAA Division II programs, is Cal State Dominguez Hills' Jessica Murphy (Torrance/West Torrance HS). Cal Poly Pomona's Christina Carriaga (Walnut/Walnut HS and Mt. San Antonio College) is the Newcomer of the Year.
In the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, for NCAA Division III schools, Cal Lutheran swept the top awards, with Sinead Vaughn (Simi Valley/Royal HS, Moorpark College and Cal State Northridge) voted Athlete of the Year and Taylor Will selected Newcomer of the Year.
Here are full lists from the Big West, WCC, CCAA and SCIAC:
Kopf scored in the 46th, 54th and 90th minutes to lead the 24th-ranked Anteaters (13-3-2), who went 6-1-1 in Big West play to edge Long Beach State by a point. UC Irvine will be home Wednesday against UC Davis in a conference tournament semifinal.
UCLA transfer Natalia Ledezma added a goal and two assists for UCI, which scored three goals in the first 8˝ minutes of the second half to turn a tight match into a rout.
Kopf's trio gives her 11 goals this season; Ledezma leads the Anteaters with 12.
UC Riverside closes its season at 8-9-2.
In other women's action:
- Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) scored the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, then sent in a cross for Jazz Strozier (Ventura/Buena HS and Ventura College) to finish just 39 seconds later as Long Beach State pulled out a 4-2 victory over visiting Pacific. Link scored twice, her 13th and 14th goals of the season, as the 49ers (13-5-1) finished second in the Big West; they will meet Cal State Northridge in a conference tournament opener Wednesday.
- Sydney Leroux's 14th goal of the season arrived nearly eight minutes into overtime, lifting No. 6 UCLA (14-1-2) to a 1-0 Pacific 12 Conference victory at Utah.
- Ashley Freyer tallied in the 59th minute as USC (7-12-0) toppled host Colorado in a Pac-12 game, the Women of Troy's fourth win in their last five games.
- Lynn Williams and Laura Cole (Whittier/La Habra HS) scored 4˝ minutes apart late in the first half as No. 3 Pepperdine (14-1-4) bounced back from Friday's loss to Santa Clara with a 2-1 victory over Portland.
Pepperdine's dream of an unbeaten season ended Friday night to a goal scored with just eight seconds to go in the first half.
No. 10 Santa Clara pulled out a 1-0 triumph over the third-ranked Waves, vaulting into the top spot in the West Coast Conference when Bridgett Miller (Los Angeles/Archer School for Girls) put away a deflected free kick in the Bay Area showdown.
Roxanne Barker (Irvine/Woodbridge HS) made two big saves to keep Pepperdine (13-1-4) level, but there were no answers for Miller's goal.
“[Santa Clara is] a good team, and, to their credit, they came out firing, and we came out flat,” Waves head coach Tim Ward told his school's athletics web site. “As poorly as we were playing in the first half, I thought we were going to come out with a 0-0 score at half, but, unfortunately,
it didn't happen.
“The second half, we played much better and had some excellent scoring opportunties.”
The best was a Myriah Stockman try off a corner kick in the 52nd minute that Broncos goalkeeper Bianca Henninger saved.
Santa Clara (12-1-5) is 5-0-1 in the WCC. The Waves, who are home Sunday against Portland, and San Diego are 5-1; BYU is 4-1-1.
The loss ended a program-record 18-game unbeaten streak for Pepperdine,
In other women´s action:
- Taylor Nelson (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS) and Nicole Sweetman (Oxnard/Oaks Christian HS and UCLA) scored goals three minutes apart early in the second half as Long Beach State (12-5-1) clinched a Big West Conference tournament berth and climbed within a point of first-place UC Irvine with one game to go with a 2-0 victory over visiting UC Davis.
- Sydney Leroux netted her second first-half hat trick in as many weeks and Jenna Richmond added two goals as sixth-ranked UCLA (13-1-2) romped to an 8-0 Pacific 12 Conference victory at Colorado.
- Lauren Mellano (Fullerton/Troy HS) scored 105 seconds into overtime as Cal State Fullerton (8-8-3) edged Pacific, 1-0, in Big West play. The Titans tied an NCAA record (set in 2005 by William & Mary) with their 11th overtime game of the season and are 4-4-3 in games with the extra period.
- USC (6-12-0) saw its three-game winning streak halted in a 3-0 Pac-12 loss at Utah.
Pepperdine heads into Friday night's showdown at Santa Clara likely for the West Coast Conference women's soccer championship with a 13-0-4 record, a school-record 18-game unbeaten streak and a No. 3 spot in the national rankings.
Head coach Tim Ward thinks it's the just the beginning.
Pepperdine has had some outstanding teams but never been considered a national power, but in a landscape that is embracing more and more contenders every year -- it's not just North Carolina, Notre Dame and Santa Clara anymore -- “I feel we're a team of destiny a little bit,” Ward says.
“I feel a change in the air ...,” he says. “I think it's our time. I think it's our time to rise up and become a power in women's soccer.”
They've made their first move with a young but veteran side that has locked things down in the back, conceding just nine goals in 17 games, while feasting on a varied attack led by a local hero and two major signings from Fresno.
The three forwards -- cerebral Laura Cole (Whittier/La Habra HS), finisher Anisa Guajardo and freshman phenom Lynn Williams, the latter two from the Central Valley -- have gotten most of the attention, combining for 19 goals and 13 assists, but Ward is fond of the assessment a friend, a top high school coach, offered after watching the Waves: “Twenty-six women with one heart.”
“I don't know if this is the most talented team we've ever had,” he says. “It certainly rivals the 2002 team [that went 18-2-2, won the WCC and reached the NCAA Sweet 16], but it is a great team. The environment, the camaraderie and team spirit definitely is what gets us through the tight [moments].
“We still have a long way to go to get better. Here we are undefeated, but we can get so much better. ... We have no illusion we're all that or we're there yet. That's another nice thing about the team. There's a lot of humility. We're sticking together like good teams should, sacrificing for each other, and we're staying humble.”
Credit goes to the senior leadership -- Cole, defensive midfielder Karissa Garcia and left back Myriah Stockman -- and the knowledge that with 10th-ranked Santa Clara and fellow national power Portland still on the schedule, the team hasn't won anything yet.
Natalia Ledezma netted a hat trick and UC Irvine took a huge step toward successive Big West Conference regular-season titles Sunday afternoon, romping to a 4-0 victory in a first-place showdown at Cal State Northridge.
Ledezma (La Mirada/La Mirada HS), a sophomore transfer from UCLA, followed a third-minute own goal with strikes in the 11th, 66th and 77th minutes as the Anteaters (12-3-2) improved to 5-1-1 in the Big West. Ledezma, who netted the first hat trick for UCI in 15 years, has 11 goals this season.
Northridge (6-8-2), a surprise contender for the conference title, fell to 4-2-1 in conference play. UC Davis (4-1-1) and Long Beach State (4-2) also are in the battle for the conference title.
Irvine and Northridge each have one conference match remaining.
In other women's action:
- Laura Cole (Whittier/La Habra HS) and Amanda LeCave scored first-half goals as No. 4 Pepperdine (13-0-4) extended its unbeaten streak to 18 games with a 2-1 West Coast Conference victory at St. Mary's. The Waves are 5-0 in WCC play and stand two points in front of Santa Clara, which it faces Friday in the Bay Area.
- Chelsea Stewart scored in the 28th minute and fed Jenna Richmond for a goal in the 35th, and No. 7 UCLA (12-1-2) toppled visiting Arizona State, 2-0, in a Pacific 12 Conference clash.
- Elizabeth Eddy scored on a 60th-minute breakaway as USC (6-11-0) claimed its third straight Pac-12 victory, beating visiting Arizona, 1-0.
All-American Sydney Leroux scored a hat trick in 11 minutes Friday night, and seventh-ranked UCLA romped to a 6-1 victory over visiting Arizona in a Pacific 12 Conference women's soccer game.
Leroux, a burgeoning U.S. national-teamer, tallied in the 10th, 12th and 21st minutes for the Bruins (11-1-2), who scored four first-half goals as they halted a three-game winless streak and improved to 4-1-2 in conference play.
The goals were Leroux's eighth, ninth and 10th of the season and give her 51 career goals. The hat trick was the third of her college career.
Zakiya Bywaters, Ally Courtnall (Westlake Village/Oaks Christian HS) and Kylie McCarthy also tallied for UCLA, which outshot the Wildcats, 24-2. Sam Mewis contributed three assists.
In other women´s action:
- Claire Schloemer (Newport Beach/Mater Dei HS) struck four minutes into overtime, and USC (5-11-0) claimed its first home victory of the season -- following seven defeats -- with a wild 2-1 triumph over Arizona State. Ashli Sandoval (Jamul/Granite Hills HS) broke a scoreless draw in the 83rd and set up Schloemer's winner after Devin Marshall's header with 38 seconds to go in regulation tied the score. It
- Ally Holtz took advantage of poor back pass to Gonzaga's goalkeeper, nodding the ball into the lower-left corner in the 77th minute to lift No. 4 Pepperdine (12-0-4) to a 1-0 West Coast Conference victory.
- Nicole Sweetman (Oxnard/Oaks Christian HS and UCLA) scored on a 75th-minute header, and Long Beach State (11-5-1) ended a two-game skid with a 1-0 Big West victory over UC Riverside (7-8-0).
Stanford scored four first-half goals to rout the Bruins, 4-1, Sunday in its packed Cagan Stadium, extending its home winning streak in women's soccer to 43 games and taking command of the Pacific 12 Conference race.
Chioma Ubogagu scored her fifth and sixth goals of the season to deliver a two-goal lead by the 18th minute. After Zakiya Bywaters halved the deficit seconds later for UCLA (10-1-2), Lindsay Taylor scored her ninth of the year in the 28th and Kristy Zurmuhlen provided a three-goal edge in the 40th.
UCLA's four-game shutout streak ended, but the Bruins stopped Stanford's seven-game stretch.
“I think we're in a good place,” said Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe, whose team has reached the past two NCAA Division I finals. “The team's doing well, but we've got to keep getting better. We've got to keep improving. We've got to learn from this game and keep growing.”
The Cardinal (13-0-1), which is 5-0-0 in the Pac-12, is looking for a third successive perfect conference campaign. Every other Pac-12 school has lost at least one. UCLA is 3-1-1.
In other women's action:
- USC (3-10-0) lost its eighth in a row as Rachel Mercik and Taylor Comeau scored second-half goals in Cal's 2-0 victory. The Women of Troy are 0-4-0 in Pac-12 play.
- Nicole Hubbard (Lakewood/Mayfair HS) scored with 12 seconds to go in regulation and Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) netted her 12th goal of the season in the fifth minute of overtime as No. 23 Long Beach State (10-3-1) rallied for a 2-1 Big West Conference victory over Cal State Fullerton (6-6-2).
The third-ranked Bruins posted their fourth straight shutout but struggled to create an attack and settled for a 0-0 draw Friday at Cal, the first blemish on their Pacific 12 Conference record.
The top-ranked Cardinal is next, in a game Sunday afternoon at 1,900-seat Cagan Stadium on Stanford's campus. The school announced Saturday that no tickets remain.
UCLA (10-0-2) dropped behind Stanford (12-0-1) in the Pac-12 standings. Stanford is 4-0-0 after a 3-0 win Friday over USC, and UCLA is 3-0-1.
Sydney Payne and Rachel Quon scored first-half goals and Natalie Griffen added another in the final minute of the Cardinal's victory over USC (3-10-0). Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe, who played for UCLA's 1990 NCAA men's title-winners, claimed his 200th career victory -- he's 200-69-26 in 14 seasons at St. Mary's and Stanford.
USC has lost seven in a row.
In other women's action:
- Loyola Marymount (6-5-1) lost in its West Coast Conference opener as Joan Piasta scored an early goal and set up another late to lift San Francisco, 2-1. Etajha Gilmer (Cerritos/Gahr HS) tallied for the Lions.
All-American Sydney Leroux's first-half goal stood up Sunday for third-ranked UCLA, which posted its third successive Pacific 12 Conference women's soccer shutout in a 1-0 triumph over No. 23 Oregon State.
Leroux, who is in the U.S. national team pool, took a pass from freshman Caprice Dydasco, made a run to the end line and slipped the ball past Beavers goalkeeper Coleen Boyd in the 17th minute. It was her team-best seventh goal of the season.
UCLA (10-0-1), which conceded just three shots to Oregon State (8-3-1) and claimed its seventh shutout in 11 matches, has a showdown next Sunday at No. 1 Stanford (11-0-1).
In other women´s action:
- USC (3-9-0) has lost six straight one-goal decisions after a 2-1 defeat to visiting Oregon. Kristina Noriega (Westminster/Ocean View HS) tallied for the Women of Troy, who dominated play but surrendered a 63rd-minute winner to Bri Pugh.
- Shawna Gordon (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS) and Marysol Rosas (Santa Ana/Mater Dei HS) scored two goals and Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) netted her 11th of the season as Long Beach State (9-3-1) routed Cal Poly, 6-0, in a Big West Conference clash in San Luis Obispo.
- Kishi Smith (Chatsworth/Chatsworth HS) set up Stacey Fox (Simi Valley/Royal HS) for the 87th-minute equalizer, then converted a penalty kick nearly four minutes into overtime to lift Cal State Fullerton (6-5-2) to a 2-1 Big West triumph at UC Santa Barbara.
UC Irvine had final-four aims a year ago, when head coach George Kuntz's talented, senior-heavy team climbed into the top 10 before an upset loss to Cal State Fullerton in the conference tournament and a poor RPI kept it out of the NCAA tournament, one of the most stunning omissions we've seen in the men's soccer brackets.
Expectations this fall aren't so towering. The Anteaters were picked fourth in the Big West Conference's preseason coaches poll, behind UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and Fullerton.
Might want to rethink that.
Irvine is off to a 6-0-0 start for the first time in school history after rallying twice from first-half deficits, then pulling away to a 4-2 non-conference victory Sunday at Midwest power Illinois-Chicago.
Enrique Cardenas (Coachella/Coachella Valley HS) scored in the 58th minute and Christopher Santana in the 77th to lift the Anteaters, who are No. 9 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America men's Division I rankings.
UIC (2-1-2) went ahead twice, on goals off corner kicks by Zach Kaleta in the fourth minute and Craig Krzyskowski in the 22nd, but UCI answered immediately both times, through Christian Hernandez (Palmdale/Palmdale HS) in the 13th and Jonathan Rivas (Norwalk/Santa Fe HS and Cerritos College) in the 24th.
In other men's action:
- Ryan Lee and Chandler Hoffman scored first-half goals to lead UCLA (2-2-1) past 10-man Loyola Marymount (2-3-0). The Bruins dominated the game, outfiring LMU, 13-4; the Lions were handicapped when Logan McDaniel (Palmdale/Quartz Hills HS) was red-carded in the 14th minute, just 23 seconds after Lee tallied.
- Jesse Escalante (Placentia/Valencia HS) and Nick Posthuma (Pasadena/St. Francis HS) scored to lead Cal State Fullerton (4-0-1) past San Francisco, 2-0, to win UNLV's event, the Titans' second tournament championship in as many weekends.
- Cal State Northridge (2-3-0), just seven minutes from victory, surrendered three goals in 97 seconds and lost, 3-1, to New Mexico in the decisive encounter of the Lobos' tournament. Gustavo Villalobos (Van Nuys/Birmingham HS) tallied for the Matadors in the 35th minute.
NORTHRIDGE -- Cal State Northridge, like Cal State Fullerton before it, took a physical approach against defending NCAA champion Akron on Saturday night. For the first 18 minutes, at least.
By then, the Matadors had racked up four yellow cards, with one defender sent off with two of them. Their showdown with the second-ranked Zips should have been over.
Instead, CSUN combined a dangerous counterattack with a superb backline performance led by Joe Franco (Monrovia/St. Francis HS) and several outstanding saves by goalkeeper Michael Abalos (San Juan Capistrano/Santa Margarita Catholic HS), taking Akron deep into overtime before finally succumbing, 2-1, in a thrilling, at times frantic finale of its Labor Day Classic.
There was a little star power in the crowd. Galaxy defender Sean Franklin (Palmdale/Highland HS), a Northridge alum, was honored before the game, and Chivas USA teammates (and Akron products) Zarek Valentin and Ben Zemanski sat a few rows below former U.S. national-teamer Brian Quinn, whose son Aodhan plays for the Zips.
Akron (2-0-1), in a little bit of rebuild mode after sending seven players to Major League Soccer this year, prevailed on Scott Caldwell's 106th-minute goal after Israeli freshman Yarden Azulay pulled the Matadors (1-2-0) even to force overtime, turning a midfield steal in the 82nd minute into a quick 1-on-1 opportunity, then chipping brilliantly into the upper-left corner.
“It's hard enough to play with 11 players against Akron, let alone 10,” Northridge coach Terry Davila said. “[Akron isn't] as mature as they were last year. We do that to them last year, you know, it would be a different story. ... We felt like we could play with them. Its just the attitude with our team. Good things are about to come for this team. Hopefully, this can be a turning point in our season.”
Northridge, which dropped their tournament opener in overtime to UNLV, went behind seven minutes after Nicholas Hamilton picked up his second yellow card, with star forward Darren Mattocks finishing from midfield leader Caldwell's feed.
The Zips rolled up huge advantages in shots (24-8) and shots on goal (14-1) and held a good deal of possession, but they couldn't put Northridge away -- and by the end, they were down to 10 men, too, with freshman defender Bryan Gallego dismissed with his second yellow card in the 83rd.
“Credit to Northridge,” said Akron coach Caleb Porter, whose team struggled against tournament winner Fullerton's physical approach in a scoreless draw in Thursday's classic opener. “They came and they fought hard and they didn't die. I think that says a lot about their group. ... I think our guys dug deep as well.