SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State men's soccer team found themselves trailing early Sunday evening as they hosted San Jose State for their home opener. They refused to quit, however, putting together an excellent second-half showing that came up just short in Sunday's 2-1 loss.
The Hornets came into Sunday's match against San Jose State riding an incredible come-from-behind overtime win on Friday at CSU Bakersfield. Whether or not that long and emotional game had an effect on the team on Sunday, it was clear that Sacramento State was not their usual aggressive selves in the opening half.
As a team, the Hornets totaled just two shots over the first 45 minutes. That said, both shots came on excellent scoring opportunities, although neither were quite on target.
The first came in just the 13th minute when a smooth pass from Tyler Moss on the outside found a crashing Brad Bumgarner in the middle of the box, Bumgarner got a boot on it just 15 yards out but sent the ball high over the net. That first look turned out to be the best look of the half for the Hornets.
On the other side of the field, San Jose State piled up seven shots, placing four of them on goal. Freshman keeper Ryan Curtis made his first collegiate start for the Hornets on Sunday and opened with two excellent saves. He was unable to save the next two, however, as the Spartans continued to press the attack in the first half.
At halftime, San Jose State held a 2-0 advantage over Sacramento State. After half, though, a different Hornets team emerged from the locker room with a new aggressiveness similar to what they had shown in the season's first three games.
Immediately, Sacramento State had the Spartans on their heels. The Hornets dominated the possession game in the second half while piling up eight shots. Despite the aggression, only three of those eight shots were on target.
Dominic Scotti found the back of the net for the Hornets on a penalty kick in the 61st minute. On one of the team's many second half strikes, Scotti found himself with a chance to shoot just inside the top of the box before being pushed over by a San Jose State defender.
The foul resulted in a penalty kick for Scotti, which he tapped home perfectly to cut the deficit to one.
Unfortunately, that was all Sacramento State would get on Sunday. They had other chances, including a great push with just 13 seconds remaining. It was Moss again from the outside, this time crossing one to freshman Benji Kikanovic in the box. Although he got a foot on the ball, San Jose's defense managed to deflect the ball out of harm's way and kill the clock.
In total, Sacramento State's second half featured eight shots, three of which were on goal, and five corner kicks compared to zero in the first half.
The loss is Sacramento State's second on the year, as they also fell to Oregon State 2-1 on the road.
They won't have to wait long to rebound, however, as the Hornets head into a Thursday night matchup against Cal. That match, scheduled for a 7 pm kickoff, will actually take place under the lights at Avaya Stadium in San Jose California. Avaya Stadium is the home of the MLS's San Jose Earthquakes.
More information on Thursday's match, including how to attend, can be found online at SJEarthquakes.com.
For more details and the full schedule, please visit the 2018 Sacramento State Men's Soccer page online at HornetSports.com.