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Aztecs Take Down No. 6 Denver 2-1

Sep 11, 2022

SAN DIEGO – The Aztec men's soccer team (2-3-1) upset No. 6 Denver 2-1 behind two header goals from Elias Katsaros on the SDSU Sports Deck Sunday evening. This was the second result against a top 10 team this week, after playing No. 7 Creighton to a 2-2 draw on the road Monday.

"An incredible week for the boys," Head coach Ryan Hopkins said. "We were pretty down in the dumps after the 1-0 loss at Omaha and we kept fighting and stuck to the plan. Tonight, they put on a professional performance. We scored on two set pieces against a team that is one of the best in the nation against set pieces."

It was a defensive battle for the first 65 minute, but then the teams combined for three goals in an eight-minute span. Katsaros scored his first in the 66th minute off a Donovan Roux free kick just outside the box on the left wing. He met the ball in the middle box and headed it inside the near post.

In the 73rd minute Denver's Griffin Meyer took an Aidan O'Toole pass near the corner of the six-yard box and tried to sneak it inside the far post where an Aztec defender tried to knock it away, but it deflected in.

Less than a minute later, the Aztecs and Katsaros snatched the lead back, this time scoring on a CJ Fodrey corner kick. Katsaros again got a head on the ball for a perfectly placed goal. For Fodrey, it was his seventh point of the week (3 goals, 1 assist).

"We work a lot on attacking headers in training and we switched up some things on our set pieces and Elias scored two big time goals," Hopkins explained.

In the final seconds the Pioneers were awarded a free kick just outside the box, but the kick sailed right into goalkeeper Jacob Castro's hands.

Junior defender Elias Katsaros had attempted just one shot in his career entering the weekend. He then scored three goals (all on headers) in the next two games.

Denver had allowed just 11 shots on goal through five matches on the year. The Aztecs had five tonight.

This is the first time since the 2009 season the Aztecs have earned a result against two top 10 teams in the same week.

The Aztecs begin Pac-12 play in the Bay Area next week with games at Cal (Thursday) and No. 2 Stanford (Sunday).