San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University surrendered the first goal within just five minutes of the start, but roared back with five unanswered scores in posting a comprehensive 5-1 victory over visiting Cal State Monterey Bay in an exhibition men's soccer match at Spartan Stadium on Friday, August 28.
The contest served as the San Jose State men's soccer team's first on the new FieldTurf inside Spartan Stadium. It is the only exhibition the Spartans will play ahead of their official 2009 season opener this Tuesday night, September 1. Kick-off at Spartan Stadium for that one is set for 7:00 p.m. The Aggies have qualified for back-to-back NCAA Division I Championship tournaments the past two years following their move up from the NCAA Division II.
Cal State Monterey Bay, of the NCAA Division II and California Collegiate Athletic Association, struck first at the 4:57 mark when junior midfielder Andrew Breault found senior midfielder Grant Robson with a through ball into the penalty box. The San Jose product out of Leland High School made no mistake with his finish, slotting the ball low and into the back of the net.
San Jose State wasted little time in getting the goal back, from none other than senior standout midfielder Nick Cukar. Fellow senior Colby Moore, as usual the lone starter up top, connected with Cukar near the penalty spot, with the shot going into the upper right corner for a tie score at 7:05. It was a fitting opener, as Cukar and Moore led the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in goals (9) and assists (8), respectively, a year ago.
In the 23rd minute, Cukar not surprisingly put his signature on what proved to be the game-winner. Redshirt sophomore Eric Angell put a perfect, bending cross in from the left side, that junior midfielder Ricky Dorrego beat his defender to at the far post, and nodded back toward the middle. Cukar, who tallied seven winners in 2008, was in the right spot to tap it in.
The Spartans then broke it open with two strikes within 16 seconds of each other in the 39th minute, both capitalizing on CSUMB defensive errors. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Robert Jackson first pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area, dodged a defender and held the ball nicely in time to loft his shot into the upper corner.
Almost immediately off the restart, freshman midfielder and San Jose product Steven Sanchez (Piedmont Hills HS) stole the ball down the right flank, dribbled a short distance and fired his shot high and into the back of the net from inside the box.
Sanchez helped cap the scoring early in the second half, dribbling into the penalty area before finding sophomore teammate Oscar Yniguez with a nifty pass. Yniguez took one dribble and finished high once again for the 5-1 scoreline.
The Spartans almost got on the board first when redshirt sophomore Justin Castro's through ball reached Moore on the right diagonal, but his shot went wide to the left.
San Jose State dodged a bullet in the 31st minute, while it was still just a 2-1 game. Otter substitute Arron Thomas got his head to a ball that got blocked back out by a Spartan defender. Gabe Glass was first to the rebound on the right side from relatively close range, but his near-post shot was met and cleared off the line by a well-placed Yniguez, out to a corner kick.
Sophomores Tyler Newman and Jonathan Lester each played 45 minutes in goal. Newman, a third-year Spartan who redshirted as a true freshman and did not appear in any regular-season matches a year ago behind departed seniors Richard Mann and Lewis Sweeney, drew the start. Lester is a transfer who spent his freshman fall season at Southern Methodist University before enrolling at San Jose State and participating in training last spring. Neither net-minder was credited with a save in the match, with Lester not even facing a shot.
A total of 22 Spartans, including eight newcomers, saw action in the match, with Dan Addiego playing the full 90 minutes at right back. Center back Nick Murphy was the only player in the starting lineup that was not with the team last fall.
San Jose State out-shot CSUMB, 16-3, and did not allow a single attempt after the break. Jackson had a game-high three attempts, with all three efforts on goal over 47 minutes. Otter goalie Brenden Baca made four stops over the 90 minutes.
"I think tonight shows how important an exhibition game is," remarked San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair. "Generally speaking, when we come out of our training camp, it's pretty scratchy at times. Guys are tired, and they're a little tired of playing each other. This is why we play (this game). It wasn't the best game that we've played, and it won't be the best game we play this season. The performance was spotty at times. I didn't like the way that we handled the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game at all, but things got a little bit better. We made some good adjustments at halftime, and I think we looked a lot better (after that), but this is exactly why we play this first game (as an exhibition) out of the shoot like this."
Spartan Notes: San Jose State's starting lineup in its 4-5-1 alignment featured Tyler Newman in goal, Eric Angell, Nick Murphy, co-captain Oscar Monjaras and Dan Addiego from left to right along the back, co-captain Nick Cukar, Brian McGuire, Justin Castro, Josh Boemecke and Ricky Dorrego in midfield, and Colby Moore as the lone striker up top ... though not an official contest, Angell, Murphy, younger brother Dylan Murphy, Jonathan Lester, Steven Sanchez, Mauricio Murillo, Jr., George Fahmy, Omri Brinner, Nik Allen, Ricky Martin and Nick Carrara all made their fall competitive debuts in a Spartan uniform ... the Spartans also had two large-margin exhibition triumphs at home a year ago, 5-0 against UC Santa Cruz (8/22) and 6-1 against Cal State East Bay (9/4) ... San Jose State had last hosted Cal State Monterey Bay in an exhibition at the very start of the 2006 campaign (8/18), defeating the Otters in double overtime, 2-1 ... the Spartans have begun each of the last five seasons with an exhibition match at home.
Cal State Monterey Bay - 1 0 - 1
San Jose State - 4 1 - 5
CSUMB - Grant Robson (Andrew Breault), 4:57
SJSU - Nick Cukar (Colby Moore), 7:05
SJSU - Nick Cukar (Ricky Dorrego, Eric Angell), 22:38
SJSU - Robert Jackson (unassisted), 38:26
SJSU - Steven Sanchez (unassisted), 38:42
SJSU - Oscar Yniguez (Steven Sanchez), 48:19
CSUMB - 3
SJSU - 16
CSUMB - 4 (Brenden Baca-4)
SJSU - 1 (Tyler Newman-0; Jonathan Lester-0; Team-1)
CSUMB - 5
SJSU - 5
CSUMB - 8
SJSU - 8