David Kadlubowski

Spartans Battle From Behind Twice To Earn Road Tie

Phoenix, Ariz. – Trailing in a rematch of last year's conference title match twice in the final seven minutes of regulation, San José State found some late-game magic time and time again en route to earning its first road result of the season on Friday at Grand Canyon. 

Upperclassmen Angel Farias and Rodolfo Castro each tallied goals in the 84th and 89th minutes, respectively, to lead the Spartans to a thrilling 2-2 draw in Phoenix. 

"It was a great match and I'm pleased we were able to battle back twice," said head coach Simon Tobin after the draw. "We showed a lot of resilience tonight combined with some great, high-quality soccer." 

The club finished the night with a big 22-12 shot advantage against the hosts. It was Castro who led the club at GCU Stadium, taking five shots with three of them on frame. 

Scoring the first goal for an opponent at GCU Stadium in almost a year (the Lopes had shutout their last four opponents in Phoenix), Farias pulled his team level with a laser in the match's 84th minute. Defender Omar Lemus got the sequence started by looping a ball into the box, a ball that Farias promptly controlled off a deflection before firing it into the right corner of the net. 

The comeback looked to be spoiled four minutes later when Grand Canyon pulled ahead on its second goal of the night, but the visitors from San José would persevere once again. 
This time it was Castro who would come through with the equalizer, taking advantage of a penalty kick earned just seconds later by beating the keeper with a right-footed dart to his left side. 

The two, 10-minute overtime periods were a rollercoaster of emotions in itself as SJSU got off six shots but was unable to find a golden goal. Ultimately it was a strong defensive sequence that allowed the club to escape with a point, clearing a dangerous loose ball in front of the net off a corner kick taken in the contest's 110th minute. 

San José State was able to dribble out the clock from there, sealing the deal on its first road result in 2019. The match marked the Spartans third overtime contest of the year and their second in as many games. In addition, it was the program's first result in a match after falling behind twice since Oct. 29, 2017, a 4-3 victory over Kansas City after trailing 1-0 and 2-1. 

SJSU finished the night with an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal and doubled the Lopes' corner kick opportunities at 6-3. 

The draw wouldn't have been possible without some crafty defense (top photo) by Jeff Dukes late in Friday's first half. The senior was able to slide in front of a ball that got behind the keeper, booting it away at the last second before crossing the goal-line. 

San José State will now look to build on its momentum as the club continues its three-match road trip later this weekend at UNLV. Kickoff for that tilt is set for 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning in Las Vegas.