San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University men’s soccer team got a pair of spectacular goals from Hiroki Akiyama on a first-half bicycle kick and Efrain Burgos, Jr., on a long-range second-half effort in topping Seattle University, 2-1, in a non-conference match at Spartan Stadium on Sunday afternoon, September 21.
With the victory, San Jose State improves to 3-1-2 this season. Seattle, the 2004 NCAA Division II national champion that is now in the process of reclassifying back up to Division I, drops to 5-2-1. The Redhawks will join the Spartans in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in 2009.
Akiyama’s second goal of the season came at the end of a Spartan flurry at the 33:15 mark. Robert Jackson’s shot from the left wing was parried by senior Redhawk goalkeeper Jordan Jennings. The ball wound up at the feet of Stephen Cordova on the right side of the penalty box. The junior striker’s follow-up shot deflected off a Seattle defender and floated toward Akiyama at the edge of the six-yard area. With only one chance to direct the ball on goal, the senior tri-captain produced a perfectly-executed bicycle kick, knocking his shot off the right post and in past a helpless Jennings. Cordova was credited with his first major college assist on the play.
San Jose State doubled its lead at 56:57 through a superb individual effort by its talented attacking central midfielder. Burgos, fresh off surgery just two days prior to repair a broken thumb suffered when an opponent stepped on him at UC Davis exactly one week ago and sporting a soft cast around his left forearm and hand, took a pass from Boyah Kaar, dribbled into the Redhawks’ third of the field and past a couple of defenders, and unleashed a laser with his right foot into the lower right corner of the net from around 20 yards out to make it a 2-0 scoreline. It was his first goal for his first points of the season, and proved to be his fourth career game-winner. Kaar picked up his first collegiate assist and offensive point.
The Spartans had the more frequent and better scoring opportunities throughout the hot afternoon, out-shooting the Redhawks, 25-9, but could not manage to put the visitors away. At the 68:21 mark, freshman SU midfielder Kyle Peterman found the ball at his feet on the left wing, and put in a cross that junior striker Ian Walsh turned in at the near post for his team-leading fifth goal of 2008. Earlier in the half with the deficit still at just one, Walsh’s glancing header from another left-sided cross from Sean Morris went just over Lewis Sweeney’s goal.
San Jose State had numerous other chances to make the finish a more comfortable one for itself. A hard shot from 20 yards out by junior forward Colby Moore was saved with difficulty and deflected out for a corner kick by Jennings at 19:53 in the first half. Moore then directed a nifty heel flick onto the path of Burgos off a long pass down the right flank by Gavin Wenyon less than two minutes later, but Burgos’ effort was blocked by a defender.
After Akiyama’s strike, Cordova had back-to-back opportunities late in the period, the latter going narrowly wide to the right after the City College of San Francisco transfer had made an effective spin move to free himself up off his defender for a shot attempt.
Coming out of the locker room following the interval, Moore and Jackson had shots that went high and wide right, respectively, at 49:14 and 51:51. At 73:46 with the score 2-1, junior Nick Cukar dribbled in from the left and hit Brent Young inside the penalty box, but the redshirt freshman’s hard shot from close range was saved by Jennings. A similar sequence came about in the 85th, with sophomore Josh Boemecke’s left-sided cross finding Cordova in the box, only for his header to go just wide to the left. With under a minute remaining, Oscar Yniguez, a true freshman from Redwood City, Calif., pounced on a loose ball and pinged his shot off the left post, with Akiyama sending the rebound well wide to the right before the final seconds ticked off.
Sweeney finished with one save over 68:21 of action, before giving way to fellow senior Richard Mann to make his first appearance of the campaign. The team tri-captain played a critical role over the remaining 21:39, going down to his right to save a hard shot by sophomore Demaci Roussos at the 81:56 mark to maintain a 2-1 edge for the Spartans.
Burgos and Cordova shared the match high with four shots apiece for San Jose State, while Akiyama and Moore added three apiece. Kaar got his first collegiate start in place of junior Oscar Monjaras at left back, and registered the first shot on goal of the day, forcing a Jennings save with an attempt from distance at 15:42. Fellow redshirt freshman Dan Addiego made his official collegiate debut in Kaar’s place at left back in the 57th minute.
For Seattle, Jennings stopped four shots over the 90 minutes. Walsh and senior teammate Andrew Kreiter each had three scoring attempts offensively.
Having played seven of its first eight matches at home, including a pair of exhibition victories, San Jose State now faces a season-long five-game road stretch, beginning at top area rival Santa Clara (1-4-1) this Wednesday night, September 24. Kick-off for this latest meeting in the annual rivalry between the South Bay foes is set for a 7:00 p.m. kick-off at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Seattle (5-2-1) - 0 1 - 1
San Jose State (3-1-2) - 1 1 - 2
SJSU - Hiroki Akiyama (2) (Stephen Cordova), 33:15
SJSU - Efrain Burgos, Jr. (1) (Boyah Kaar), 56:57
SU - Ian Walsh (5) (Kyle Peterman), 68:21
SU - 9
SJSU - 25
SU - 4 (Jordan Jennings-4)
SJSU - 2 (Lewis Sweeney-1; Richard Mann-1)
SU - 4
SJSU - 5
SU - 12
SJSU - 9