Denver, Colo. - San Jose State University trotted out to a 2-0 advantage over the first 28 minutes against first-place Denver University, but had to settle for a 3-3 draw in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men’s soccer match at Pioneer Field on Friday afternoon, October 31.
With the result, San Jose State is now 5-5-4 overall and 1-4-1 in the MPSF. Denver remains unbeaten over its last seven matches, now at 7-5-2 overall and 5-0-1 in conference play.
Oscar Yniguez, a true freshman out of Redwood City, Calif., earned his fourth start in midfield and notched his first collegiate goal to put San Jose State on the board at the 20:04 mark. The graduate of Woodside High School took a pass from sophomore teammate Efrain Burgos, Jr., and blasted his shot into the back of the net from inside the Denver penalty box.
The Spartans upped their advantage in the 28th minute when Burgos, Jr., produced his team-leading fifth on the year. It was junior Brian McGuire who passed him the ball from the right, for his second assist of the year.
The Denver comeback began 12 minutes into the second half, with freshman forward Sam Garza ultimately scoring twice within a span of 108 seconds to knot the match at 2-2. Senior midfielder Joey Mathot assisted on the first at 56:48, coming up the right flank before dishing to Garza, who beat a couple of defenders to go one-on-one with Richard Mann and shot past the Spartan goalkeeper. Garza’s second came unassisted following a steal.
San Jose State regained a slim edge not too long after, as junior starting striker Colby Moore tallied his first goal of the campaign and 10th of his college career, at 67:34. The Los Gatos native out of Bellarmine College Prep stole the ball and shot from the top of the area.
The necessary three points were not to be had on this day, however, as senior forward Kyle Christensen’s 81st-minute strike first brought on the extra periods, and then the tie. Garza and Mathot were each credited with assists on the senior forward’s third of 2008. It was Mathot up the right wing again, crossing to Garza, who found Christensen in the middle for the one-timer.
Mann, a senior tri-captain, made his second straight start in the Spartan net, and posted a career-high 11 saves, including one on a Ryan Aweida header off a corner kick early in the second overtime.
Moore had a one-on-one with sophomore Denver goalkeeper Joe Willis with a little over four and a half minutes left to play, but was denied, with sophomore midfielder Josh Boemecke then hitting a shot high.
Burgos, Jr., finished with a team-high seven shots, three of which were on goal, including his first-half strike. He was one of four Spartans to play all 110 minutes. Moore had three shots, two of them on goal, in a career-high 100 minutes of action.
For Denver, sophomore Joe Willis had four stops in goal. Garza wound up with a game-high 10 shots, five on goal, with his second and third scores of the year and five points on the day. Christensen and Collin Audley had six shots apiece as DU was credited with 36 attempts in all, to 17 by the Spartans.
“This was as wild a game as we have played all season,” remarked San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair. “We got off to a great start and were 2-0 at halftime. We struggled defensively the entire second half. We were just not as sharp as we needed to be. Defense has been the real foundation for us the entire year, and we had an off day today.
“That being said, we were 3-2 up late, and had two unbelievable chances in overtime to win it, but they just wouldn’t fall for us. Playing the conference leader away in Denver, never being behind and coming away with a point, you have to feel good about the point, but we were poised on more than one occasion to win, so I know the players are disappointed. We will try to pick it up on Sunday.”
San Jose State is in Colorado Springs, Colo., this Sunday, November 2, to take on the Falcons of the United States Air Force Academy (4-9, 2-3 MPSF).
San Jose State (5-5-4, 1-4-1 MPSF) - 2 1 0 0 - 3
Denver (7-5-2, 5-0-1 MPSF) - 0 3 0 0 - 3
SJSU - Oscar Yniguez (1) (Efrain Burgos, Jr.), 20:04
SJSU - Efrain Burgos, Jr. (5) (Brian McGuire), 27:41
DU - Sam Garza (2) (Joey Mathot), 56:48
DU - Sam Garza (3) (Ryan Aweida), 58:36
SJSU - Colby Moore (1) (Efrain Burgos, Jr.), 67:34
DU - Kyle Christensen (3) (Sam Garza, Leon Abravanel), 80:15
SJSU - 17
DU - 36
SJSU - 11 (Richard Mann-11)
DU - 4 (Joe Willis-4)
SJSU - 4
DU - 6
SJSU - 14
DU - 17