(MSUB Athletics release)
SAN MARCOS, Calif. – David Martin sucked the wind out of the sails of the Montana State University Billings men’s soccer team on Tuesday, blasting home a powerful shot from the top of the box in the 89th minute to give host Cal State University San Marcos a come-from-behind 2-1 win at The Cage.
The Yellowjackets (0-3) led 1-0 with as little as 14 minutes left in the match, but the Cougars managed to find the net twice to remain perfect at 3-0 on the season.
“We played with heart and desire today, and I believe we deserved to get more out of this game,” commented MSUB head coach Alex Balog. “Unfortunately, defensive errors at the end of the game and a lack of clinical ability offensively came back to bite us. I am proud of how well the team played in the first half, after playing two games in the previous five days. The trip did not go according to our expectations, and we have to find a way to get this train back on its tracks on Friday.”
The game winning goal developed from an intercepted clearance on the left side, that turned into a pair of passes connected into the box by CSUSM. Eric Poland rolled a pass towards the top of the box, where Martin’s one-time effort curled into the back of the net.
The goal came 13 minutes after the equalizer, which fell together on a short corner kick by the Cougars. Bryan Morrison won possession and lifted a long cross into the box from the left, and it was Poland on the other end who swiped a right-footed shot past MSUB goalkeeper Ludvig Rhodin.
Dana Kowachek gave the ‘Jackets the lead in the 27th minute, as MSUB took advantage of a set-piece opportunity just outside the box on the left side. Guillaume Kremer whipped in a perfect cross and Kowacheck intervened with a perfect flick from his head to beat CSUSM keeper Justin Tesar from five yards out.
It was all the offense MSUB could come up with however, as momentum shifted CSUSM’s way for the majority of the second half. Rhodin was again a key force in keeping his team in the game, making four key saves throughout the match. With 20 minutes left to go, the senior had a sequence of stellar saves, starting with a penalty kick denial in the 70th minute. The Cougars worked the ball back into the box, and the ‘Jacket keeper had to dive to his left to knock away a would-be goal by Juan Camillo Salazar.
Less than a minute later, Rhodin dealt with a dangerous cross into the box, snagging the ball and pulling it down to safety before it could reach the oncoming strikers.
MSUB commanded possession for much of the opening half, carrying a 4-1 advantage in shots into the break. The Cougars out-shot MSUB 9-5 over the final 45 minutes however, and won six corner kicks in the match compared to just one for the ‘Jackets.
Kremer had a look towards goal on a free-kick attempt from 30 yards away, but his shot missed just over the crossbar with 17 minutes left in regulation.
Fancy footwork and blazing speed by Kowachek in the right corner created another scoring chance, as he beat a defender and lofted a cross towards the back post. Ricardo Palomino was there for a leaping volley attempt, but his shot carried just wide of the far post.
THE BUZZ: Kowachek was picked as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…it was the senior’s second straight game with a goal, and was the third of his career…Tuesday was just the second-ever meeting between MSUB and CSUSM…the teams battled to a 1-1 draw in double-overtime three years ago to the day in a neutral-site game played at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah…Tuesday marked the second game in five days MSUB lost in the final five minutes, after No. 4 Cal Poly Pomona scored in the 108th minute of double-overtime for a 1-0 win on Friday.
NEXT UP: Facing a tight turnaround, the Yellowjackets return home for the 2018 Rimrock Classic in memory of Trevor Wildberger this weekend in Billings. MSUB will take on Colorado Christian University at 4 p.m. on Friday before facing Sonoma State University at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Both matches will feature live video and live statistics, available online