CSUN opens its 44th season of varsity men’s soccer this week with a pair of home matches. The Matadors begin a season for the first time on the Matador Soccer Field pitch since 2017 Thursday night when CSUN welcomes San Diego State to Northridge at 7 p.m.
The Aztecs went 8-7-2 last season. As an affiliate member of the Pac 12 for men’s soccer, SDSU was 2-7 in league play a year ago. San Diego State was picked fifth in the preseason Pac 12 poll. Iñigo Villaldea was named a “Midfielder to Watch” in the 2022 season by the United Soccer Coaches. Villaldea was named first-team All-Pac 12 and second-team All-Region last season. Blake Bowen, who scored three goals last season, is SDSU’s top returning scorer. Jacob Castro returns in goal for the Aztecs. Castro recorded seven shutouts in eight victories a year ago.
Thursday marks the 24th time that CSUN and SDSU are playing men’s soccer with the Matadors leading the all-time series 12-9-2. The Aztecs defeated the Matadors 2-0 in the 2021 opener in the last meeting between the two schools.
The week concludes Sunday night when the Matadors host SIU Edwardsville at 7:30 p.m. Sunday’s match will be the back half of a doubleheader with the CSUN women’s soccer team who play Loyola Marymount at 5 p.m. The Cougars begin the 2022 campaign at Loyola Marymount Thursday night before heading up the 405 to face the Matadors.
Max Broughton and midfielder Pau Palacin were named to the preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference team. Broughton was named second-team All-Region and second-team All-Conference in 2021. Palacin was chosen second-team All-Conference a year ago. SIUE went 6-10-2 overall last season, 4-6 in the MVC to finish third. The Cougars were selected third in the preseason Missouri Valley coach’s poll.
This is the second time that CSUN and SIUE are playing. The Cougars defeated the Matadors 1-0 on Sept. 9, 2016, in Edwardsville in the only previous meeting between the two clubs.
CSUN was picked seventh in the preseason Big West coaches’ poll on Aug. 19. The Matadors received 47 points as UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine tied for first in the poll. UC Davis is third followed by UC Riverside and Sacramento State. Cal Poly is sixth followed by the Matadors, Cal State Fullerton, CSU Bakersfield, and UC San Diego.
The Matadors went 2-0-1 in exhibition play from Aug. 14-20. CSUN began the preseason slate on Aug. 14 with a 1-0 victory at San Diego. Marley Edwards scored the game-winning goal in the 55th minute for the Matadors. Levin Gerhardt earned the assist on the play.
CSUN played Cal Poly Pomona to a 1-1 draw on Aug. 17. The Broncos, No. 5 in the preseason NCAA Division II United Soccer Coaches Association Top 25 poll, took the lead in the 23rd minute on a Jerry Ramirez goal. Jack Rhead headed in an Edwards rebound in the 73rd minute to tie the match.
Rhead scored twice as CSUN defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills 3-1 in the final men’s soccer exhibition for the Matadors on Aug. 20. Hector Villanueva put back a rebound of a Jamar Ricketts‘ shot for the final CSUN goal of the night.