San Jose, Calif. -The San Jose State men's soccer team outshot the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Highlanders 7-to-3 in the final 25 minutes and had numerous dangerous chances, but lost 4-2 on Sunday in Spartan Stadium.
"Unfortunately we really only played well in the final 20 minutes of this game," said head coach Gary St. Clair. "We waited far to long to get going. We made far to many mistakes early on and left ourselves far to big a mountain to climb."
NJIT (6-5-0) scored the first two goals of the game, at the 18:31 and 20:29 marks, to take a 2-0 lead.
In the 43rd minute, Garret Foster broke through for the Spartans. Thomas Barnes broke down the left sideline and powered a shot that Highlander keeper Lars Maalen-Johansen stopped, but didn't control. Foster, waiting on the doorstep of the goal, pounced on the loose ball and tucked it inside the post to cut the deficit to 2-1 heading to the half. It was Foster's first collegiate goal and Barnes' second assist of the year.
In the 52nd minute, NJIT's Chrisitan Galindo picked up a loose ball in the box, made two quick moves, and scored to the far post for a 3-1 Highlander lead.
With the Spartans (3-4-0) pushing the attack forward in the 80th minute, Steven Sanchez headed a ball off a spectacular 30-yards pass from Christian Romero to make the score 3-2. It was Sanchez's fifth goal in the last four matches and Romero's first assists of the year.
The Spartans were gaining momentum and buzzing the Highlander goal, with attempts that went just wide by Sanchez, who led the side with five shots, and Jonathan Salceda, who had four shots.
But the Spartans attack proved to be their downfall in the 89th minute as Franco Gamero got behind the defense and beat Michael Schwinn, one-on-one to the far post, for the final tally of the game.
"Once we got going the boys played really hard," St. Clair said. "We needed that effort from the first whistle not at the end. We are a young side. You take two or three steps forward, but inevitably you are going to take a few steps back. This is an experience our players will learn from and we will be ready to play next week in our conference opener (at Seattle)."
San Jose State out shot NJIT 15-to-14, with both sides getting off 11 shots in the second half. Thomas Barnes took two shots for San Jose State and four others had one shot apiece.
Schwinn made four saves in the loss. Maalen-Johansen also had four saves while recording the win.
San Jose State opens Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play on Sunday, September 30 against the Seattle University Redhawks. Kickoff in Seattle, Wash., is schedule for 1:00 p.m.