Utah Valley Athletics

Golden Goal Gives Spartans Second Straight Road Win

Orem, Utah – For the first time in 16 years, the San José State men's soccer program has finished a regular season unbeaten in away matches. 

Completing the historic feat didn't come easy, but a golden goal off the foot of midfielder Finlay Wood in the match's 99th minute secured a dramatic 3-2 victory in overtime on Wednesday night. The win gives the program its best start through six matches since the 2011 campaign and moves the team up to third on the WAC table in win percentage. 

"That was a good performance on the road," said assistant coach Jesus Sanchez after the victory. "We managed to get three goals and picked up three points. That is tough to do away from home but we have traveled well all year." 

Wood, along with seniors Nicolas Brenes and Willy Miranda, tallied the team's trio of goals against Utah Valley. Senior Rudi Castro (who entered the day ranked No. 2 nationally in assists per match) contributed assists on all three of the Spartan goals. 

It was Brenes who opened the scoring early, chipping a right-footed shot from the left side of the box just past the Wolverine (1-2-0) goalkeeper. The 17th minute goal was Brenes' third of the season. 

SJSU (3-1-2) added to that early advantage in the match's 69th minute, doubling its lead with a beautiful bit of pressure in front of goal. 

This time it was Miranda (fresh off a hat trick in last week's victory at California Baptist) who found the back of the net, taking a pass from Castro and beating the keeper with a dribbler over the goal line. 

Up a man in extra time, the home team got their best look at stealing a win from 2-0 down in the 97th minute. Already with one goal on the evening off a penalty kick, Utah Valley's Zahir Vasquez was able to get behind the San José State defense and had a one-on-one chance against goalkeeper David Sweeney.
The WAC's reigning Defensive Player of the Week was able to get the best of the matchup this time, going full extension to make a diving safe that kept the scoreline at 2-2. 

Just two minutes later, the visitors from San José were able to parlay some of that extra energy into the game-winning goal. Dangerous on the counter all night, the final attack proved to be the one that broke the Wolverines' back. 

Using a pair of lightning quick touch passes off the feet of Castro and senior Max Allen, Wood collected the night's final pass and was able to loop the ball into the back of the net. The goal marked the first of the season for the Newport, Wales product and was his first since the 2017 campaign. 

"The final goal only happened because Sweeney made a massive save about two minutes before that," Sanchez said while recounting the final sequence. "In overtime and away from home, we weren't going to be too adventurous there. But the guys have the qualities to go and create and they found the energy for a great lead-up and great finish." 

This marks the first year since 2012 that the program has earned a result in four consecutive away matches. SJSU has now earned a result in nine of its last 11 matches (dating back to last season) and has won three straight contests against Utah Valley. 

With their winning streak up to two matches and their unbeaten streak now at four, the Spartans return home for a three-match homestand to end the regular season.

That stretch is set to begin on Saturday afternoon against Incarnate Word. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. at Spartan Soccer Complex.