Sacramento, Calif. - For the ninth time in 11 career goals, a Steven Sanchez strike proved to be the game winner. On Sunday it came at the 88:38 mark in a 2-1 win for the San Jose State men's soccer team over Sacramento State (2-4-1) on Hornet Field.
"What can you say about a player like Steven," said head coach Gary St. Clair. "He is special. Like all great scorers he never gets down. He probably had three or four chances before the goal that didn't go in, but he just keeps going and fighting and is always ready the next time an opportunity presents itself."
Sanchez took a throw-in from Jonathan Salceda and, breaking in alone behind the Sacramento State defense, beat keeper Bryan Oliver to the far post for his second game-winner and third overall goal this year.
Using 16 field players, San Jose State (2-3-0) took a season-high 18 shots, out shooting the Hornets in each half: 7-to-5 in the first and 11-to-6 in the second. In addition the Spartans had the advantage in shots on goal 6-to-4.
"We have been concentrating a lot on our defensive shape for the last few weeks and we're happy with what we are seeing," said St. Clair. "Sometimes when you focus on one side of the game the other suffers a bit. The past few days we have really been focusing on the offensive side and we got results from that work right away today."
San Jose State opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Dylan Murphy had a free kick from 25 yards out and buried it in the back of the net for a 1-0 Spartans lead. It was Murphy's third goal of the year and the first time the Spartans got the first goal in any of their five matches this season.
In the first 20 minutes the Hornets out shot San Jose State 4-to-1. But the Spartans took over in the last half of the period firing six shots to Sacramento State's one. However, that one Hornets shot found the back of the net. Isaac Ikyurav beat a defender into the box and fed Gabe Silveira, who tucked the ball into the net for the equalizer at the 43:57 mark. The teams went to the half 1-1.
In the last 13 minutes, the Spartans were buzzing the Sacramento State goal, taking five shots before the Sanchez goal put San Jose State ahead for good.
"Really the last 30 minutes belonged to us," said St. Clair. "It was tough out there, 90 degrees and both teams had played games in the last few days, but we won this with what is in our chests. We wanted it more and made it happen with our play."
Keeper Michael Schwinn made three saves in earning his second win of the year. The Hornets' Bryan had four saves in the loss.
San Jose State plays its next two matches at home, hosting the San Jose State/Santa Clara Tournament. The Bradley University Braves come to Spartan Stadium on Friday, September 21 in a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Then on Sunday, September 23, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders are here for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.xxx