In recent years, Matador Soccer Field has not treated the UCSB men’s soccer team well and this time it seemed the whole world was against the Gauchos.
Cal State Northridge (3-3-3 overall, 1-0-2 in the Big West) picked up its first Big West win by defeating the #19 Gauchos (5-4, 2-1 Big West) 5-0 in a match in which official Miguel Chicas issued 12 yellow cards along with five red cards. Santa Barbara played at least one man down for 60 minutes.
“In my eight years of coaching that was the worst officiated game I’ve seen,” Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “But nothing surprises me when we’re down in Northridge.”
The Matadors drew first blood before the cards came flying out when junior defender Matt Tracy knocked one home after a free kick in the 14th minute. Sophomore defender Kyle Kaveny received the game’s first card in the 19th minute and CSUN capitalized as sophomore midfielder Devin Deldo blasted the ensuing free kick into the net for a 2-0 Northridge lead.
Kaveny picked up his second yellow, and the game’s first red card, minutes later and the card storm took off from there. Freshman midfielder Dylan Riley was dealt the first red card for CSUN in the 25th minute, giving both teams 10 players on the field, but the number of players did not stay even for long.
Junior defender Greg Curry earned the next red card of the contest in the 31st minute and the Gauchos played down the rest of the way. Junior midfielder Evan Patterson picked up another red card minutes before the final whistle and a Gaucho assistant coach was red carded as well.
“We had a red card and then they did, but then we got a second and then a third,” Vom Steeg said. “Obviously its really hard to play down the entire game.”
Santa Barbara has now dropped two straight contests for the first time this season and has been shut out in both losses. Northridge had more offensive chances than UCSB and outshot the Gauchos 24-14.
“I’m very concerned about the offense,” Vom Steeg said. “Even going back to Fullerton we’ve missed a lot of opportunities and we didn’t get it done against Davis either. “We’re not being effective in the final third, but it’s hard to take anything from today’s game.”
The game shakes up the Big West conference standings in a must-win matchup for the Matadors, who fought to a draw in their first two conference games. UC Irvine now leads the pack with a 2-0 league mark heading into tonight’s match at Cal State Fullerton.
“Right now we’re still ahead of Northridge and in terms of the standings there are still seven games out there,” Vom Steeg said. “But Irvine still has to play Northridge and us twice.”
The two teams have combined to win the last five Big West titles and Northridge ended UCSB’s season in an epic NCAA Tournament Second Round match last season. The loss was the Gauchos’ fifth straight at Matador Soccer Field and the squad has not left Northridge with a victory since 2000.
“It’s a rivalry that we have between us, but its not like we hate each other,” Vom Steeg said. “Why it needed 12 yellows and 5 reds is beyond me.”
UCSB returns to Harder Stadium this Saturday to host Michigan at 7 p.m., the opening match of a three-game home stand.