Aztecs face newly formed Rio Grande Valley and old foe UNLV in men’s soccer

by Jocelyn Moran, Contributor

The adrenaline will kick in this weekend for the San Diego State men’s soccer team as it faces two Western Athletic Conference teams at home, with one being SDSU’s arch rival UNLV.

After a 0-0 tie against UC Irvine last Sunday, the Aztecs are 3-0-2 this season, extending its longest unbeaten streak since 2005.

Its last two games have been 0-0 draws, one against UCI and the other last Friday against Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.

SDSU will now attempt to continue its undefeated record, starting with the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley on Friday.

UTRGV entered the WAC after being officially formed in August of this year with the consolidation of the University of Texas at Brownsville and University of Texas, Pan American. UT Brownsville played at the NAIA level before merging.

After its 2-0 win against the Presbyterian College, Blue Horse on Sunday, UTRGV is now 2-2-1 in the season.

UTRGV junior forward Carlos Acevedo and freshman forward Isidro Martinez will be the ones to watch as they both scored their second goals of the season last Sunday, increasing their team’s average goals scored per game to a 1.6. SDSU slightly tops it with its 1.8 average.

SDSU will then continue its weekend against UNLV on Sunday. The Rebels notched their fourth straight win against Bradley University last Sunday, moving to 4-2 in the season.

Although they’re in different conferences for men’s soccer, there’s no love lost between UNLV and SDSU.

“That’s a Mountain West rivalry. UNLV has been a very good team over the last couple of years,” head coach Lev Kirshner said. “They came to our Sports Deck last spring and handled us very well. Two years ago, they handled us at Northridge even better. This is a very high level game for us.”

SDSU will have to continue its strong defense as UNLV’s offense has been dominant, averaging two goals per game.

Rebels’ senior defender Bradley Kamden was named the WAC Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after he and the rest of the defensive line only allowed one goal total against Mercer University and Bradley last weekend. He is also a threat offensively for UNLV after scoring a goal in each game.

The Aztecs have only allowed two goals this season and shouldn’t have a problem keeping their defensive line tight, especially with the recent performances of their back line.

Freshman defender Kyle Adams earned a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week last week and was the only Pac- 12 player on that list.

Junior Defender Matt Callahan was also nominated for Pac-12 Player of the Week this week.

The Aztecs will need to outshine their competition offensively this weekend if they want to  extend their undefeated record.

“We have just recently started getting into some of our possession and attacking stuff,” Kirshner said. “It’s now finally starting to work on some of our final third area that caused us some trouble over the weekend.”

The biggest threat for UTRGV and UNLV will be SDSU senior forward Rene Reyes, who ranks in the top three among all Pac-12 players with three shots per game.

Only two teams remain undefeated in the Pac-12: No. 8 Oregon State and San Diego State.

“It’s a matter of us just moving forward in the year. We’ve got a lot of new players to the program,” Kirshner said. “We have to start getting on the same page.”