KENTFIELD, Calif. - The Cal State East Bay men's soccer team ended a two-game scoring drought but could not overcome a two-goal lead on Monday afternoon against Dominican University, falling to the Penguins, 2-1. Sophomore midfielder Arnoldo Mendoza found the back of the net for the Pioneers, who enter Friday's conference opener with a 1-3-0 overall record.
"We had a lot of opportunities today, but we just couldn't close the deal," Head Coach Andy Cumbo said. "Unfortunately, our youth and lack of experience had an effect in this game. Dominican worked hard and had a good game and we gave up two soft goals. Any team at this level is going to make you pay for your mistakes."
Dominican opened the scoring in the seventh minute, when Evan Cordova played a ball from the left side to Pedro Guevara who found the back of the net to give DU the early 1-0 lead. The goal, Guevara's first of the year, marked the first time this season that Cal State East Bay has allowed an opponent to score in the opening half.
Despite allowing the early score, the Pioneers regained composure, controlling possession for the remainder of the half, taking two shots in the initial frame. Penguins keeper Matthew Carlson maintained the first-half shutout without making a save. On the other end, freshman keeper Billy Morales faced just one more shot in the final 39 minutes of the opening period.
After trailing 1-0 at the break, CSUEB took control of the momentum in the second half, out-shooting the Penguins 10-3 in the final 45 minutes of the match. In the opening 10 minutes of the second frame, the Pioneers threw four shots at Carlson who made one save and was helped by a block from his backline.
Though East Bay was controlling the ball and creating chances early, Dominican found the back of the net again. The Penguins took a 2-0 lead after a missed clearance allowed Tim Pinella to dish the ball to Guevara, who notched his second goal of the day in the 56th minute.
Although they were down two goals, the Pioneers bounced back from the score well, continuing to build momentum until they ended a two-match scoreless streak with the goal from Mendoza. The goal came when a long throw from junior midfielder Aric Johnson found Mendoza in the box, where he volleyed a shot past Carlson for the score. Mendoza now leads the team with three points on the year.
"After the second goal we continued to play really well," Cumbo said. "We kept the ball in [Dominican's] half and we had a lot of opportunities in the final third of the field."
Though the Pioneers created several scoring chances in the final 29 minutes of the match, they could not find the equalizer. Carlson needed just two saves to record the shutout and give Dominican its first win of the season.
"We continued to have the majority of the momentum but we just couldn't find that final touch in front of the goal," Cumbo said.
The Pioneers now look ahead to Friday's CCAA opener against Cal State Monterey Bay. The Otters enter the week with an 0-2-0 record and face Seattle Pacific at home on Tuesday afternoon. Kickoff for Friday's conference meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Pioneer Field.
"We are young and hopefully we're learning from our mistakes," Cumbo said. "We start conference play on Friday and we've got to go in with a lot of excitement and our heads up."