For the first time in three weeks and just the third time all season, the Utah Valley men’s soccer team took to the pitch at Clyde Field Thursday, Oct. 7, falling 1-0 to the San José State Spartans in WAC play.
The match was scoreless for the first 75 minutes of action, and despite being down to 10 men, the Spartans were able to take the lead in the 76th minute and hold on for the victory.
UVU started off the match with a frenetic pace of play for the first few minutes, but quickly settled down. Forward Aaron Nixon nearly opened the scoring inside the first minute of play, but his shot was saved by SJSU goalkeeper David Sweeney.
Striker Evans Armah nearly got the Wolverines on the board in the 25th minute, but his shot hit the right post and bounced out. Midfielder Jojea Kwizera had a chance on the rebound, but his shot went wide left.
Perhaps the Wolverines’ best chance at scoring came early in the second half off the foot of defender Mateo Palomino. After a failed clearance by SJSU, Palomino skipped his shot off the turf high in the air over everyone, but Sweeney was able to tip the ball away just as it was about to cross the goalline. Sweeney crashed into the right post on the play, but was able to get up quickly and get back in the action.
A scary moment happened in the 57th minute when Wolverine defender Mark Brown and Spartan defender Miguel Bermudez both slid in for a loose ball. Brown cleared the ball, but took a vicious hit to the chest from Bermudez, who was shown a yellow card for his actions. Brown would not return to the game.
In the 62nd minute, the UVU bench clamored for a penalty as Nixon was tripped in the penalty area, but the referee ruled there was no foul on the play.
In the 73rd minute, Bermudez was shown a red card for another bad challenge, this time on Armah. Down to 10 men, the Spartans were able to take the lead off of a counterattack in the 76th minute when Ryota Nakashima’s cross found the head of Rudi Castro, who thumped it into the top-left corner.
The Wolverines held possession for virtually the rest of the match, but were unable to break through the compact Spartan defense. A few crosses went through the penalty area, but no shots on goal were registered.
With the loss, UVU falls to 5-2-2 on the season, and 2-1 in WAC play. The Wolverines return to action on Saturday, Oct. 9 to take on the Seattle U Redhawks at Clyde Field. The match is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. MDT and can be streamed on ESPN+.