Aztecs stumble in second half, fall to No. 21 Marshall


Luis Lopez

Sophomore midfielder Tristan Weber (19) attempts to dribble the ball past the Marshall defender during the Aztecs’ 5-1 loss to Marshall on Oct. 18 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

by Amber Salas, Contributor

San Diego State men’s soccer lost to No. 21 Marshall by a final score of 5-1 on Oct. 18 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

The first half started as a back-and-forth affair between both sides until Marshall pulled away in the second half by scoring four goals.

“That goal going in the first couple of minutes broke our spirit,” SDSU head coach Lev Kirshner said. “The team just didn’t bounce back and they made us pay for it.”

All the action began in the 29th minute when redshirt freshman defender Kyle Colonna was issued a yellow card inside the penalty box. Marshall (10-1-2, 3-0-1 Conference USA) sophomore defender Jan-Erik Leinhos converted from the penalty spot to give the Thundering Herd its first lead of the game.

The Aztecs (3-8-1, 0-5 Pac-12 Conference) fired back a few minutes later after a corner was awarded from a free kick position. Senior midfielder Pablo Pelaez hit a ball that connected with senior defender Miles Stray to find the back of the net for his first goal of the season.

“It feels good,” Stray said of the goal. “But it feels a lot better in the moment. It would be nice if we came out with the (win).”

Stray’s goal ended the Aztecs’ two-game scoring drought.

Despite their deficit, Kirshner said his team was still able to bring its competitive drive. 

“That’s generally the character of our program,” Kirshner said. “There’s always fight and always a battle.”

This is the first time Marshall allowed an opponent to score in the first half all season.

Marshall then opened up the floodgates in the second half.

Sophomore forward Vitor Dias got the Thundering Herd on the board three minutes after the break in the 48th minute.  Redshirt freshman forward Milo Yosef had a brace scoring goals in the 66th and 75th minute.

The nail in the coffin came in the 78th minute when SDSU sophomore midfielder Reagan Sherlock scored an own goal. Marshall was pressing on the attack when a crossing ball deflected off Sherlock and went past his own goalkeeper.

The Thundering Herd only needed 11 shots to bag in its four goals, and Kirshner said it was frustrating to watch his team have defensive breakdowns.

“We continually keep doing this to ourselves,” Kirshner said. “This is not soccer. That is just giving away easy goals.”

The Aztecs have managed to only have one goal in their past three matches. Sophomore midfielder Laukoa Santos said the team has been facing hardship when it comes to scoring.

“We have to look within and figure that out,” Santos said. “We haven’t been connecting as well in the final third.”

Santos added the Aztecs will remain positive and believe they can turn it around with six games remaining on their schedule.

“We don’t want to have a losing record,” he said. “We need to start winning games for the seniors, for the program, for the fans who come out here.”

The Aztecs will face Oregon State in a pivotal Pac-12 Conference matchup on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the SDSU Sports Deck.

Amber Salas is a junior studying journalism. Follow her on Twitter @ambersalass.