Aztecs allow three first-half goals in 4-0 loss to California


Sam Mayo

Senior midfielder Adam Vargas passes the ball in the Aztecs’ 4-0 loss to Cal on Oct. 10 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

by Daniel Guerrero, Staff Writer

At first glance, it may appear that San Diego State men’s soccer outplayed California on Oct. 10 at the SDSU Sports Deck.  

The Aztecs (3-6-1, 0-4-0 Pac-12) outshot the Golden Bears (6-3-1, 2-2-0) 13-7 and were awarded 16 corners compared to California’s two. 

But the three first-half goals from the Golden Bears and a fourth goal in the 88th minute were too much to overcome for SDSU resulting in 4-0 Aztecs’ loss.

Head coach Lev Kirshner said the Aztecs have the ability to play at a high level, but defensive mistakes have hurt them. 

“We are fully capable of playing at this level with any soccer team – anybody in the country – but you can not continue to bleed goals in the manner that we are,” Kirshner said.

The three first-half goals came on four shots and by the 31st minute, the Aztecs found themselves in a 3-0 deficit.

A goal in the 5th minute from junior forward Tommy Williamson made it a 1-0 contest, then senior defender Simon Lekressner found the back of the net off an assist from junior midfielder Francisco Perez in the 11th minute. 

Sophomore forward Johnathan Estrada gave the Golden Bears a 3-0 lead with his header in the 31st minute. 

Kirshner said giving up easy goals are ones the Aztecs have to prevent.

“This is not a team that walked us off the park,” Kirshner said. “We are just giving easy goals away and you can not win at this level giving easy goals away.”

Senior defender Miles Stray said the three-goal deficit put the Aztecs in a tough spot early on in the match.

“When it hits three (goals) you still have hope, but it’s just a bigger and bigger hole you’re climbing out of so it’s difficult and unlucky,” Stray said. 

SDSU had eight consecutive corner kicks from the 36th minute to the 39th, but were unable to get a shot off in any of the corner kick opportunities. 

SDSU was able to get just four shots off from 16 corner kicks.

Kirshner said the inability to score on multiple opportunities needs to be improved for the team to succeed. 

“There is a lot of really good things going on in this group, but we are not doing the game moment plays that are necessary to be at this level,” Kirshner said.

The Aztecs, who had just three shots in the first half, had more offensive opportunities in the second half. 

SDSU got off back-to-back shots during the 49th minute. Freshman midfielder Hunter George’s shot was blocked and senior midfielder Emil Kjellker’s shot was saved by senior goalkeeper Drake Callender. 

In the 58th minute, Pelaez’s corner kick found Vargas inside the penalty, but Vargas’ shot was saved by a diving Callender. 

Redshirt freshman Kyle Colonna said the team’s played saw improvements in the second half, but the deficit was too much to overcome.

“In the second half we were definitely much better and you could see how we were able to truly play, but it was definitely an unfortunate loss,” Colonna said. “We put ourselves in a hole that we really couldn’t get out of.”

The Aztecs host No. 7 Stanford on Oct. 13 at noon at the SDSU Sports Deck.