Column: Finishing opportunities to score are a growing concern for men’s soccer


Sam Mayo

Senior midfielder AJ Valenzuela attempts to get past the Golden Bears defenders during the Aztecs’ 4-0 loss to California on Oct. 10 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

by Cristian Alvarez, Staff Writer

In the past two games San Diego State men’s soccer has produced a combined 20 shots and 21 corner-kicks – the kind of output that normally wins games – but zero goals and two losses were the results of those efforts.

The object of the game is to score goals, but it appears the Aztecs are struggling in that category at the moment.

SDSU is ranked 108th in total goals scored amongst Division I teams.

The Aztecs (3-7-1, 0-5-0 Pac-12) have not scored in back-to-back matches. And to make matters worse, the Scarlet and Black have conceded 10 goals in the past three games.

Opponents have outscored the Aztecs 24-15 this season.

In 11 games, SDSU has a score rate of 1.36 goals per game, ranking 113th in the nation.

“The team is going to have to do some soul searching,” head coach Lev Kirshner said. “We are not doing the game moment type of plays that are necessary to compete at this level.”

The Aztecs lost 4-0 to Cal on Oct. 10. It was a game in which the team had both outshot and out-cornered the Golden Bears.

SDSU earned a team-high record 16 corner-kicks and produced 13 shots but had no goals to show for it.

“As a team we (have) got to be better inside the box,” Kirshner said. “We are going to have to figure out how to solve this problem.”

The Aztecs finished their next game on Oct. 13 against No. 7 Stanford in similar fashion.

Seven shots and five corners resulted in zero goals – all while conceding a decisive goal to the Cardinal in the 58th minute.

“Sometimes things just do not go your way,” senior defender Miles Stray said. “We’ll still keep creating chances and hopefully some will fall in our favor.”

Kirshner said it was strange seeing his team create more opportunities than their opponents but still manage to lose.

“It’s a very rare thing to see in a game,” Kirshner said. “I don’t understand it and I’ve never really quite experienced something like this before.”

This offseason, the coaching staff added nine players as part of the No. 12 recruiting class in the nation to help boost the Aztecs’ attack.

One positive for the Aztecs is they have scored 15 total goals, just one shy of the 16 tallies they had all last season.

The Aztecs still have plenty of soccer left to play with seven games remaining on their schedule.

“The team has a lot to keep its chin up on,” Kirshner said. “We just need to continue staying strong with our mentality and build off of that.”

Redshirt freshman defender Kyle Colonna said the team has what it takes to turn things around and finish strong.

“We’ll try and continue to take advantage of our opportunities in the next games to put away more goals,” Colonna said.

Next up for the Aztecs is a game against Marshall on Oct. 18 at the SDSU Sports Deck.