The Daily Aztec

SDSU poised to smoke Roadrunners

by Patrick Carr, Staff Writer

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The FIFA World Cup may be a distant memory, but the first weekend of the school year always means the same thing: soccer season.

San Diego State’s men’s soccer team returns at 7 p.m. this Friday to the SDSU Sports Deck where they will play host the California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners.

Here’s a peek at the storylines heading into Friday’s match.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

Between these two sides, it’s been all Aztecs and there’s nothing to argue about it. SDSU has won all six contests against the Roadrunners by a combined score of 29-1.

That’s right, 29 goals scored to just one conceded in the last six contests against CSU Bakersfield, including a 13-0 drubbing in 1984—tied for the greatest win in school history.

The Aztecs have recorded 42 wins all time against schools from the Western Athletic Conference.

AZTECS LOOK TO START FRESH WITH NEW FACES:

Perhaps the biggest talking point of the offseason is the amount of new players on the squad this season.

The Aztecs return with just two starters from last year’s squad. Who’s going to replace them? Well, how about the 37th-best recruiting class in the country?

There is 19 new players and 16 of them are freshmen.

Of the new players, there’s sophomore Pablo Vazquez, who racked up 19 goals and 22 assists in his time at San Jacinto College in Texas.

Freshman Donald Benamna is another fresh face. The speedy forward scored SDSU’s lone goal in the season opener against the University of San Diego.

Head coach Lev Kirshner gave the starting nod to four freshmen including keeper Adam Allmaras, midfielder Jeff Rhodes, forward David Olsen and defender Matt Callahan.

A LOOK AT CSU BAKERSFIELD:

The Roadrunners finished with a 9-9-2 record last year, good for second place in the WAC.

This season, CSU Bakersfield is in prime position to compete for the WAC title, as they return players who scored more than half of the team’s 29 goals a year ago.

They also have leadership on their squad with five seniors and four juniors, and they return several starters from last year.

The biggest weakness for the Roadrunners is their defense, which gave up 36 goals last season, including 25 in the second half, indicating the defense gets tired. What doesn’t help them is the fact that two of the four defenders on the roster are true freshmen.

PREDICTION:

Although the Aztecs scored only one goal last Thursday, their attack is potentially devastating with the calm, smart midfield play of Vazquez and sophomore midfielder Travis Nicklaw and the work rate of Benamna and Olsen can also play a factor.

It’s also the first home match of the year and it’s on a Friday night under the lights at the Sports Deck. SDSU couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere. Remember last year’s opener? A 5-0 demolition of USD.

AZTECS: 3

ROADRUNNERS: 0

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