Men’s soccer escaped with a win against Cal St. San Marcos to improve to 2-0 on the season

On Saturday night, Azusa Pacific men’s soccer grabbed a win against Cal St. San Marcos by a close score of 2-1. Improving upon their winning record and remaining undefeated in this young season, the Cougars gave fans a great show.

Coming out hard and fast against a young San Marcos team, APU looked to score quickly and never look back. Although four solid offensive chances were created in the initial 10 minutes of the match, the Cougars weren’t able to put the ball in the net. However, offensive weapons like junior James Ndubueze, senior Arturo Astorga and junior Renan Gomez kept chipping away at the San Marcos defense until they were able to breakthrough.

In the 26th minute of the match, Astorga, Gomez and a few San Marcos players were in a mad scramble in front of the net to either clear the ball or score it. Astorga was able to get the defining kick in on the ball and APU came out of the chaos with a goal. That would be their only goal of the half but the offense didn’t stop there as the Cougars got seven shots off in the half.

With a versatile offense, APU knows that chances can come from anywhere and the team needs to be ready to capitalize. 

“We can attack out wide, down the middle, and we have a handful of guys that are dangerous. It’s nice because the other team isn’t really sure where the attack is coming from,” said head coach David Blomquist. “And if one guy is having a little bit of an off night, there are other guys that will get the job done.”

Going into the second half, there was a definite momentum shift as Cal St. San Marcos began to play faster and more physically. Without a goal in the first 45 minutes of play, they were getting a little impatient. APU continued to stand tall and played terrific defense keeping Cal St. San Marcos to just one shot in the second half.

The Cougars would be tested in the 67th minute as San Marcos finally pulled through on a defensive breakdown by APU. 

“I think the coaches do a good job of keeping us cool and having us play our style,” said Astorga. “We lost a little focus when they scored but we came back as a team. We all have to remind each other and keep each other accountable. No one here is selfish, we all know what to do and we always put the team first.”

With the game tied, APU never lost sight of the goal and continued to pound away on the offensive side of the ball. In the 70th minute of the game, Gomez found himself with a free-kick a ways away, but that didn’t stop him from focusing on the net. With a collective deep breath from everyone both on and off the field, Gomez took a few steps back, fired the ball over opposing defenders, and it soared past an outstretched San Marcos goalkeeper to take the lead.

“As soon as I took three or four steps back, I don’t remember exactly, but I saw that the keeper couldn’t see the ball so I knew if I could flip this ball over the defense it would be a goal, so I just tried to do my best and I got the goal,” said Gomez.

With a close win on the scoreboard, but an aggressive win on the field, the Cougars improved to 2-0 on the season. Their next contest is against Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at home.