San Jose, Calif. - After going scoreless for more than 248 minutes, the San Jose State men's soccer team got a first-half goal from Roberto Casteneda and went on to a 2-0 win over the Mavericks of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) on Sunday afternoon in Spartan Stadium.
The win improves the Spartans record to 2-1-1, while the Mavericks fall to 1-4-0.
San Jose State got off to a strong start with four shots taken in the first 20 minutes, all on frame. Diego Ochoa and Steven Sanchez both had opportunities right on the doorstep, but Mavericks' keeper Josh Christensen made goal-saving stops.
From the far left wing, in the 26th, minute Dan Addiego fed Casteneda the ball at the top of the box. Casteneda dribbled through a couple of defenders and hammered a shot low to the right of the keeper, which found the back of the net for a 1-0 San Jose State lead.
"We had some great shots and some misses," Casteneda said, "but at the end of the day we got two past their keeper and won. It feels great to score that goal."
It was his first goal of the season and the first for the Spartans since the 67th minute of their opening game against Fresno Pacific on August 26.
"Our guys continue to play well between the boxes," head coach Gary St. Clair said. "(Roberto's) goal was big time for us."
San Jose State outshot the Mavericks 9-to-3 in the half and put five shots on goal to Nebraska-Omaha's one.
In the second half the Mavericks picked up the intensity, outshooting the Spartans 6-to-4. In the 53rd minute an open shot by UNO's Cody Thayer sailed just right of the net and three minutes later Thayer had another attempt blocked by the Spartans defense.
San Jose State keeper Jonathan Lester had the game's best save at the 87:10 mark. UNO's Mo Salama dribbled the ball along the top of the penalty area. From the right side he turned and pounded a shot high to the left of Lester, who parried it away to preserve the shutout. It is his 14th shutout as a Spartan and moves him alone into fourth place on the program's all-time career shutout list.
At the 58:49 mark Sanchez made it a 2-0 San Jose State lead. Allen La Spina picked up the ball in Spartans territory and fed Sanchez in the midfield. Jonathan Salceda was making a run down the right sideline and took a pass from Sanchez. Salceda crossed the ball back to Sanchez who popped it over the oncoming keeper.
It was Sanchez's first goal of the season on his seventh shot overall.
"As a striker you have to get used to missing on some opportunities," Sanchez said, "but the important thing is to keep creating those chances and eventually they will start to go in."
"The transition that Steve and John worked was as good as anything you see on television," St. Clair said. "We need guys who can score and we need guys who can make plays. Today a couple of guys stepped up."
San Jose State head out on the road next week with a pair of games in southern California. On Friday they will be at the Lions of Loyola Marymount for a 3:00 p.m. kickoff and then on Sunday they have a 1:00 p.m. meeting at UC Riverside against the Highlanders.
"Momentum is always important," St. Clair said after the win. "We now go into a very difficult part of ours chedule. We beat both of those teams (Loyola Marymount and UC Riverside) here last year and now we have to go to their place. They are both very good teams. Every game is a battle and nothing is easy for us."