Spartans Drop 1-0 Decision In Exhibition Finale

Keeper Manny Espinoza made two saves in the Spartans final tune-up for the 2015 season.
Aug. 23, 2015




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San Jose, Calif. -- The San Jose State men's soccer team controlled the play for the majority of the afternoon, but a free kick in the 24th minute proved to be the difference as the Spartans wrapped up exhibition play in a 1-0 defeat against San Francisco State on Sunday afternoon.

In their last tune-up before opening the season on Friday at Loyola Marymount, the Spartans outshot their visitors from up the peninsula, 14-to-4, but didn't cash in on their opportunities.

"If we finished some of those chances, it's possibly a 2-0 game in our favor and we come away from this one feeling better," junior striker Rory Knibbs said. "Today was the first time that Greg (Harte), Jonathan (Colunga) and I were out there together. It felt good, we just need a little more time to get things sorted out."

The Spartans were pressing the attack from the start. Knibbs and Harte each got off quality shots on goal in the first two minutes, but both attempts were turned away by the first of three Gator keepers to see action.

With the Spartans defensive line playing up the field, SJSU was able to keep the majority of the action in the SFSU end of the field. San José State had the better of the play until a foul at the 23:56 mark set the Gators up with a free kick from 25 yards out.

From just right of center, Sam Merritt lifted the ball over the SJSU line, found the upper right corner and a 1-0 San Francisco State lead.

The momentum swung to SFSU for the remainder of the first half and for the next 66 minutes the Spartans chased the equalizer.

The first dangerous chance for the Spartans came 11 minutes after the San Francisco goal. Andrew Mendoza took a pass across the box and in stride fired a shot that beat the keeper. However, the apparent goal banged off the far post and out. It would prove to be the Spartans best chance in the match.

The Gators took the last of their four shots on the day just three minutes later and the teams went to the half with San Francisco State in the lead 1-0.

In the second half, SJSU continued to make things happen, outshooting the Gators 9-to-0 and creating scoring chances, but could not find the goal which would have tied the game.

Three Spartans attempted a game-high three shots Knibbs, Mendoza and Luis Vargas. Harte took two shots and Eddie Saydee, Uriel Ayala and Jonathan Gutierrez attempted one each.

Keeper Emmanuel Espinoza played the entire match San José State and made two saves.

SJSU opens its 18-game 2015 regular season on Friday, August 28 at Loyola Marymount. Kick off in Los Angeles is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The team's home opener is on Friday, September 4 at 4:00 p.m. on Spartan Soccer Field against UC Davis.