SEATTLE, Wash. - Despite facing 21 shots and playing on the road for the first time in 2009, the Cal State East Bay men's soccer team allowed just a single goal to Seattle Pacific on Tuesday night, falling to the Falcons 1-0 at Interbay Stadium. The loss was the first of the campaign for the Pioneers, who drop to 1-1-0 on the season.
"I thought this was a great performance by the team," Head Coach Andy Cumbo said. "The guys played hard for 90 minutes. They really stepped up to the challenge. Seattle Pacific is a very good team. Even though we're disappointed with the loss, this is a good result for us."
The two squads played to a scoreless tie through the first 45 minutes. Cal State East Bay freshman keeper Billy Morales made three saves on nine shots in the first frame, while SPU keeper Zach Johnson needed just one save to shut out the Pioneers in the initial period.
After sitting out the first half following Monday's double-overtime tie with Sonoma State, Seattle Pacific sophomore forward Ryan Brand came on as a halftime sub. Just 15 minutes later, Brand took an open shot from the center of the box that sailed wide. The Portland, Ore., native connected again in the 66th minute, this time finding the back of the net on a 25-yard shot into the lower left corner of the net.
The goal marked the Falcons' first in 179 minutes and Brand's first of the season. Brand led all players with six shots on the night and gave Seattle Pacific the only lead it needed to record its third straight blank sheet.
Though the Falcons out-shot East Bay 21-7, the Pioneers had some quality chances of their own. Early in the first half, CSUEB freshman defender Josh Alvarez played a ball in for junior midfielder Aric Johnson whose shot hit the crossbar before going out. Johnson led the Pioneers with two shots on the night, both in the first half.
"We did a fairly decent job with our attack," Cumbo said. "We had some good opportunities, the guys came ready to play."
Though the Falcons notched the first score of the season against East Bay, the Pioneer backline continued its organized play against SPU, blocking four shots and limiting the work for Morales.
"Billy Morales and our backline did an excellent job today," Cumbo said. "[Morales] didn't really have to do much, he only faced six shots on a goal but he did a good job coming off his line. Collectively, we were really committed to defending well tonight."
The Pioneers will now look to bounce back on Thursday night in the second installment of the current three-match road trip. East Bay will travel to Lacey, Wash., to take on St. Martin's at 1 p.m.
"Now we have a great understanding of what a good Division II team looks like," Cumbo said. "We'll look to regroup and come back recharged on Thursday. We're ready to work hard to leave Washington with a win."