Men’s soccer loses home opener, 2-1, against Army West Point


File photo

Then-sophomore midfielder Tevenn Roux dribbles the ball between two Army players during the Aztecs 2-1 loss to Army on Sept. 1, 2018 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

by Cristian Alvarez, Contributor

San Diego State men’s soccer lost its first home game of the season, falling to Army West Point 2-1 on Sept. 1 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

Head coach Lev Kirshner said the Aztecs were unable to recover after losing an early 1-0 lead.

“Unfortunately, on our side we did not recover well enough,” Kirshner said. “We lost control of the game.”

The Aztecs had opportunities to equalize in the final minutes, but were unable to salvage any goals.

“We just got ourselves into a position, not to be able to finish off a couple of the chances in the end to equalize,” Kirshner said.

SDSU’s lone goal came from junior midfielder Pablo Pelaez, after sophomore midfielder Keegan Kelly crossed a ball from the left wing to the far post, which Pelaez connected for a one touch goal in the 22nd minute.

“I ran into the box and saw Keegan had a perfect pass to me, and I was wide open, so thankfully I was there to finish it,” Pelaez said.

The Black Knights leveled the score in the 58th minute, when junior forward Keenan O’Shea capitalized off a penalty kick in the box.

“Goals change games in soccer. They (Army) came out at the half with a higher energy…they get that goal for all that high energy and are rewarded for it,” Kirshner said.

Tension built up as the Aztecs struggled to maintain possession of the ball in the second half. Players physically and verbally got involved with one another.

Army made adjustments that helped them gain momentum deeper into the game.

“They found some pockets in between our midfield..they did a better job of dealing with our pressure,” Kirshner said.

SDSU senior forward Damian German was given a yellow card in the 69th minute, after challenging for a ball in the southeast corner of the field, which reflected the level of frustration on the team.

Ten minutes later, Army West Point gained a 2-1 advantage after sophomore midfielder Christian Takaki scored his first goal of the season in the 79th minute.

Although unhappy with the result, senior defender Aleks Berkolds said the match was a learning curve.

“I think we have got to reflect on what we did well tonight and what we also can take away,” Berkolds said. “These next few games are really important for us.”

Kirshner said his team will move forward.

“I think the message is really that it is very hard to win at this level,” Kirshner said. “And we’ve got to start learning what it takes to do so.”

This was just the second time in school history the Aztecs faced the Black Knights. The teams met in Aug. 2017 of last season with Army defeating SDSU 1-0.

The Aztecs next chance will come against LIU Brooklyn on Sept. 7 at the SDSU Sports Deck.