Aztecs Top CSUN 2-0 in Season Opener
SAN DIEGO – The Aztec men's soccer team (1-0-0) scored two late goals to kick off the 2021 season with a 2-0 win over CSUN (0-1-0) on the SDSU Sports Deck Thursday evening.
Freshman striker Alex Hjælmof (Rungsted, Denmark) scored a goal and tallied an assist in his first collegiate action and Andre Ochoa netted the other SDSU goal.
"This was a really good team win," Head coach Ryan Hopkins said after the match. "There were stretches when we weren't at our best, but we found a way to win, and I think that's going to be a trademark for our team. We stuck to our principles, didn't give up many chances and got a clean sheet. Overall, a great team win on both sides of the ball. Everybody played their role."
The first half was a defensive battle and featured just five combined shots and just one shot a goal. The Aztecs did have a series of three consecutive corner kicks in the 39th minute but didn't threaten the Matadors.
SDSU had a good look in the 57th minute when Donovan Roux sent a rocket from the top of the box that was saved with a diving effort by CSUN keeper David Preys.
Preys made another outstanding save in the 77th minute on a So Nishikawa shot from 25 yards out.
The Aztecs' first goal came after Hjælmof was tackled inside the box after chasing down a through ball from Laukoa Santos. Hjælmof then converted the penalty kick in the 82nd minute to put the Aztecs on top.
SDSU scored an insurance goal in the 88th minute on a pretty give-and-go between Andre Ochoa and Hjælmof.
In addition to the three points Hjælmof collected tonight, he had two goals in last Friday's friendly vs. Point Loma.
Goalkeeper Jacob Castro, a transfer from Washington who was making his SDSU debut, recorded a shutout and collected two saves.
STAT OF THE MATCH
This was SDSU's first shutout in a season opener since 2013 when they beat No. 16 San Diego 5-0.
Four of the Aztec starters were making their SDSU debut: Alex Hjælmof, Tadej Pirtovšek, Donovan Roux and goalkeeper Jacob Castro.
QUOTE OF THE MATCH
"Alex [Hjælmof] isn't even a forward, he's a midfielder by trait, but he's just an intelligent soccer player and he can adapt to any system. He's done an awesome job and we are just touching the surface with him." Coach Hopkins on freshman forward Alex Hjælmof
The Aztecs play at Loyola Marymount Monday evening. The Lions beat Oral Roberts on the road 3-1 Thursday evening.