San Francisco, Calif. - The San Jose State University men’s soccer team played to a second straight 2-2 draw in spring action against the University of San Francisco at the Dons’ Negoesco Stadium on a sunny but typically windy and cold evening in the City on Friday, April 3.
The Spartans previously drew by that same score at home against Cal State Stanislaus to begin the competitive spring season back on Saturday, March 14.
San Jose State had edged USF, 1-0, on a sudden-victory strike in double overtime by senior-to-be Nick Cukar inside Spartan Stadium last September 10, before the Dons went on to capture the West Coast Conference’s automatic berth into the 2008 NCAA Championship.
Newcomer Jonathan Lester, a spring transfer from Southern Methodist University who will be a redshirt sophomore next fall, started the match in the Spartan net. In front of him from left to right, were Eric Angell, who redshirted as a sophomore in the fall following a transfer from Cal State Stanislaus, senior-to-be Oscar Monjaras, newcomer Nick Murphy and redshirt sophomore-to-be Dan Addiego. The midfield was occupied for a second spring game in a row by Cukar and junior-to-be Ricky Dorrego on the left and right wings, respectively, with senior-to-be Brian McGuire, junior-to-be Josh Boemecke, and Justin Castro, a redshirt freshman last fall, in central midfield. Colby Moore, who will be a fourth-year senior next fall like Cukar, was again the lone striker up front. Angell was starting in place of defender Boyah Kaar, a redshirt freshman this past season who was forced to sit the match out through injury.
Lester, Newman and Kyle Novak, an Oregon product who redshirted as a true freshman last fall, each played a complete 30-minute segment in goal, with Newman keeping a clean sheet. The Spartans used all 22 field players available for the short trip up the freeway, including two San Francisco products in center back Murphy, who attended Lowell High School, and reserve forward Stephen Cordova, a senior-to-be who graduated from Phillip Burton High School prior to attending City College of San Francisco for two years and transferring to San Jose State.
The San Jose State goals were scored by Castro on a header from a left-sided Angell cross, and sophomore-to-be Oscar Yniguez unassisted off a rebound shot, as the Spartans rallied from an early 1-0 deficit, only to relinquish a late equalizer to determine the final outcome.
USF narrowly out-shot San Jose State for the evening, 13-12. The shots on goal were 6-3 in favor of the visitors. Each side had four corner kicks. Lester notched the lone goalie save for the Spartans, while Don net-minders tallied four stops.
“I thought it was a tremendous effort by our players,” said San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair, who will be in his 20th season in charge at his alma mater in the fall. “The guys just played with a great deal of heart, against a bigger, stronger USF team. I think we matched them in physicality. I give a lot of credit to our interior midfield defense, which was just unbelievable tonight. Playing USF is difficult. Sometimes, it looks a bit ragged, but I think we played extremely well. That’s what spring is all about, is performance.
“We lost a goalkeeper and three out of four on our back line (to graduation),” added St. Clair about having given up all four goals off dead-ball situations in two matches so far this spring, on two penalty kicks, a free kick and a corner kick. “I think that that statistic alone tells you what we are going through right now. We are going through some growing pains. We are going through some experience pains. When you give up four set pieces with balls in the air, that’s exactly what’s happening, but they’ll get better, and the results will start to fall for us sooner or later.”
The first of the three 30-minute periods featured some fine defensive help in central midfield from Boemecke in particular. Castro registered the first shot of the match in about the ninth minute, going wide to the left from the right side of the penalty area.
USF scored about eight minutes later, as the Dons earned a free kick on a foul call in the left corner by the flag, with the ball headed into the far netting.
In about the 27th minute, Dorrego was narrowly denied an equalizer at the end of a three-shot sequence. His initial header attempt after a right-sided throw-in was unsuccessful. The San Jose native then put a low shot on goal that the Dons’ goalkeeper saved nicely from point-blank range. The rebound bounced back out to Dorrego on the left side of goal, but his third effort from a tough angle went parallel to the goal and missed.
San Jose State tied the match just moments later before the first break, as a free kick from the right side by Castro made its way over to Dorrego on the left diagonal. Dorrego’s back-pass to Angell was hit first-time in a looping fashion toward the center of the penalty area, where Castro expertly flicked a glancing header over the oncoming goalie for 1-1.
The second period saw an exceptional midfield performance by a brand-new five-person group for the Spartans, as St. Clair changed 10 of the 11 players on the pitch, with the exception of leaving Monjaras in central defense. Bobby Jackson and Steven Sanchez on the left and right wings, and Oscar Yniguez, Mauricio Murillo, Jr., and Sky Cutler in the center, displayed some creative play, with several through balls coming from Sanchez and Yniguez in particular.
In the 36th minute or so, a throw-in deep in the USF half on the right side from new right back Kachiside Madu, found Jackson’s foot on the far post. With the goalie having come out for the throw and gotten out of position, the redshirt sophomore-to-be had his hard shot cleared by a defender on its way toward goal.
Nine minutes later, Jackson passed to Sanchez, who in turn hit Yniguez with a through ball. Yniguez’s first shot attempt was saved by the USF goalie, but the Redwood City product was first to the rebound, gathered himself and put a low shot into the near corner for a 2-1 edge.
With four minutes remaining in the second period, another Sanchez pass through the middle put Cordova in on goal, but his shot was saved.
Finally, with about 14 minutes left in the match in the last third, a left-sided USF corner kick was again headed in at the back post, with the ball being deemed by the linesman to have just narrowly crossed the goal line, where midfielder Aria Vossoughi had tried to keep the ball out.
San Jose State had one chance to break the deadlock, when Moore was brought down outside of the penalty box when he was about to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but Castro’s shot off the free kick was deflected and ultimately went wide to the left.
St. Clair will next take his squad to San Luis Obispo, Calif., early on Sunday, April 5, to play the Cal Poly Mustangs inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium at 1:00 p.m.
On Saturday, April 11, San Jose State will play host to a three-team mini-tournament, welcoming South Bay rival Santa Clara and Sonoma State to Spartan Field. The Spartans will battle the Broncos at 10:00 a.m., and the Seawolves at 2:00 p.m., in shortened games. In between, Santa Clara will take on Sonoma State at 12:00 p.m.
Admission to these contests at Spartan Field is free of charge. Spartan Field is located at the corner of Alma and 10th streets on South Campus, across from Spartan Stadium.
Finally, on Saturday, April 18, San Jose State will be in Moraga, Calif., at another mini-tournament with the host Gaels of Saint Mary’s College, and the Golden Bears of the University of California. Saint Mary’s and Cal will play at 12:00 p.m., before the Spartans meet the Bears at 2:00 p.m. and the Gaels at 3:15 p.m.
Please check back at SJSUSpartans.com for any changes or additions to the spring schedule, and for all the news from the remaining matches.
2009 Spring Results/Schedule
at San Jose State 2, Cal State Stanislaus 2 (3/14)
San Jose State 2, at University of San Francisco 2 (4/3)
Sunday, April 5: San Jose State at Cal Poly, Alex G. Spanos Stadium, 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 11: San Jose State vs. Santa Clara University, Spartan Field, 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, April 11: San Jose State vs. Sonoma State University, Spartan Field, 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 18: San Jose State vs. University of California, Saint Mary’s Stadium, 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 18: San Jose State at Saint Mary’s College, Saint Mary’s Stadium, 3:15 p.m.