Terrell Lloyd

Miranda, Suli Spark Spartans In Sunday's Senior Sendoff

San José, Calif. – Responding to adversity has been a strength for the San José State men's soccer team this season and Sunday's match offered another opportunity to do just that. 

Overcoming wind gusts over 40 mph, a pair of disallowed goals and a strong effort from last year's WAC regular-season champion, the Spartans celebrated all Senior Day long to the tune of a 2-0 victory against visiting Air Force. 

"We had to be gritty," said head coach Simon Tobin after the victory. "The conditions weren't very good for the way we like to play. We absorbed a lot of pressure against the wind in the first 45 minutes but our game plan was to get to halftime at 0-0 and that ended up being the key." 

After being forced to play on its heels in the first half, Tobin's team was able to control possession and create plenty of chances in the second stanza. The club was ultimately rewarded in the match's 79th minute, drawing first blood on the first goal of the season for midfielder Willy Miranda. 

Miranda was able to redirect a direct free kick grounded into the box by midfielder Max Allen, knocking the ball with force past the keeper and into the back of the net. 

SJSU was able to hold, and extend, its 1-0 advantage in the final 10 minutes, using a goal from one of its three seniors to put the match away on Senior Day. 

This time it was forward Suliman Khorami, the attacker sneaking behind the defense before beating the goalkeeper one-on-one to give his side a 2-0 lead in the 89th minute. 

"Suliman Khorami, Jeff Dukes and Angel Farias, they were one of my first recruiting classes," Tobin said. "They are all local, Northern California guys who chose to stay home. They're really great players and good men off the field too." 

Sunday's match also marked the third shutout victory recorded by freshman keeper David Sweeney in his first collegiate season. Sweeney tallied four saves and faced nine corner kicks on the afternoon. 
No save of Sweeney's was bigger than his stop in the 30th minute, coming off his line to turn away an Air Force attacker that only had the goalkeeper between him and an early lead. The freshman has now tallied 53 saves in 10 appearances on the 2019 campaign. 

"I was just trying to stay calm out there," said Sweeney when asked about dealing with the windy conditions. "My mentality going into the game was to get another shutout so I was glad we could get that." 

San José State's offense finished the match with a 12-7 advantage in shots taken, putting eight on goal to its opponents four. Miranda and forward Rodolfo Castro ended up leading the team with three shots a piece. 

The team is now back over .500 in league play and has won back-to-back contests as it enters a tough three-match road trip to put a lid on the regular season.

That trip will begin on Friday night in Edinburg as the Spartans return to the pitch to face UTRGV. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. (CT) against the Vaqueros.