NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Scott Caldwell's golden goal in the 106th minute lifted The No. 2 University of Akron men's soccer team to a 2-1, double overtime victory over Cal State Northridge Saturday night at Matador Soccer Field.
Caldwell took a DeAndre Yedlin cross from the right side of the field, played it off his chest and then buried his shot past Northridge keeper Michael Abalos, who finished with 12 saves, at the 105:43 mark. It was the junior midfielder's second goal of the season and third game-winner of his career.
Caldwell's late heroics were nearly unnecessary as the Zips (2-0-1) held on to a 1-0 lead with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
But the Matadors (1-2-0) received a shorthanded, counter attack goal from Yarden Azulay in the 82nd minute to force overtime.
Freshman Wil Trapp had his shot from straight away blocked following an Akron corner kick to set up the improbable goal. Azulay quickly collected the rebound and, after a long run, found himself one-on-one with UA goalkeeper David Meves, who had no chance stopping a lob shot from the top of the penalty area.
It was the only shot on goal for the game for Northridge, which Akron out-shot 24-8 overall and 14-1 on frame.
"Credit to Northridge, they fought hard and didn't die," said UA head coach Caleb Porter, who won his 92nd career match Saturday. "But I thought our guys dug deep as well. We're a young group and there are a lot of guys still struggling to find themselves. Our overall personality of the team is still taking shape. But we made good progress tonight. I was proud of them for finding a way to win the game."
The game began with a similar physical style of play as Thursday's draw with Cal State Fullerton as CSUN was called for seven fouls and drew three yellow cards in the first 13 minutes of the match.
But the things changed dramatically when Matadors' center back Nicholas Hamilton tackled Darren Mattocks from behind and was shown his second yellow in the 18th minute – forcing CSUN to play the rest of the match a man down.
The Zips, who had begun to dictate play well before the second caution, punished Northridge in the 25th minute when Caldwell found Mattocks, who slipped the ball just inside the right post for his third goal in three games this fall.
Akron pushed on in the second half and created a number of scoring chances – out-shooting CSUN, 10-3 – but couldn't find a second goal. The Zips were particularly dangerous late in regulation but Abalos, who recorded four saves during a 10-minute stretch, was spectacular at times to turn UA away.
Abalos' clutch play proved to be crucial as the Matadors pulled even at the 81:18 mark and further gained momentum when Zips' freshman defender Bryan Gallego was shown his second yellow card just minutes later for grabbing a Matadors' attacker on a breakaway.
But Akron was resilient and took back control shortly after in overtime with a number of scoring chances – including Abalos' point-blank save of Thomas Schmitt in the 92nd minute – before winning the game.
Zips Notebook: Caldwell, Mattocks and Meves were each named to the Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic All-Tournament Team ... Akron has been defeated just once in its last 27 regular-season road matches and is 22-1-4 during that time ... UA improved to 60-0-0 when leading at halftime under Porter ... Meves has allowed just one goal in more than 305 minutes for a goals-against-average of 0.29.