Another goal from Emmanuel Perez was not enough as Cal Poly lost 2-1 against Seattle University on Monday, Sept. 23 in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

The junior midfielder scored his sixth goal in four games for the Mustangs (3-3) in the 54th minute off a cross from junior forward Jacob Lindberg. However, Cal Poly’s lead was short-lived as the Redhawks (3-3-2) went on to score two goals within a six-minute timeframe to win the match.

While Perez has scored the majority of Cal Poly’s goals this season, he made sure to credit his teammates for setting him up with goal-scoring opportunities.

“Almost all our goals, they start from the goalie or from a throw-in all the way in our half,” Perez said. “A lot of people are involved in the play, so it’s not just one person or two people … It’s a good feeling.” 

It was a tale of two halves for Seattle on Monday night as the Redhawks could not capitalize on seven corner kicks during the first half, including two corners in a 23 second period. Defensive frustrations brewed briefly for Seattle when defender Alex Acton-Petronitis was given a yellow card in the 17th minute. Lindberg recorded the Mustangs’ first shot later that minute, but the attempt sailed over the crossbar. 

Seattle came close to opening the scoreline in the 40th minute, but all efforts from the Redhawks were unsuccessful after junior defender Josh Graham blocked a shot from Avila-Good. 

The second half of the match got underway with a disallowed goal from graduate forward Spencer Held in the 47th minute, who strayed offside before hitting the back of the net. The Redhawks responded to the offside call with three shots in a span of five minutes, forcing two saves from sophomore goalkeeper Carlos Arce-Hurtado before Perez’ goal in the 54th minute.

Spencer Held battles for possession in a physical match that saw 20 fouls between both teams. Kyle Calzia | Mustang News

However, a foul by junior defender Freeman Dwamena gave Seattle a free kick in the 60th minute and resulted in a yellow card on the defender. The Redhawks equalized through midfielder Hamish Ritchie’s volley on the ensuing free kick.

Seattle then took the lead in the 67th minute thanks to a penalty kick awarded via a Cal Poly handball. Forward Declan McGlynn directed his penalty toward the left post. While Arce-Hurtado guessed the shot’s direction correctly, he was unable to stop the eventual game-decider.

The Mustangs were unable to retaliate against the Redhawks, making just one shot in the final 20 minutes of the match. 

Head coach Steve Sampson stressed the importance of keeping high energy after scoring an opening goal. He credited Seattle’s ability to respond to Perez’ goal during the ensuring 10 minutes.

“They responded by playing faster and playing more direct, and we needed to respond by closing down more, being more defensive-oriented, being smarter on the ball, and making harder runs,” Sampson said. 

Cal Poly was out-fouled by Seattle 11-9, but the Mustangs received five yellow cards compared to the Redhawks’ one yellow card. Five defenders — Dwamena, Graham, junior Andrew Forth, senior Daniel Klemm and sophomore Andrew Robertson — were booked in the match.

The Mustangs finish off their five-game homestand against Loyola Marymount on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Despite the loss, Sampson spoke positively of his squad ahead of the match against the Lions. Sampson praised his team’s growth and focused on the good atmosphere around the team so far.

“In the five years that I’ve been here, this is the best Cal Poly team,” Sampson said. “We’re just ever so close to being exceptionally good. And I’m confident we’ll find our rhythm.”

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