Cal Poly men’s soccer, despite putting up a strong showing in their first game of the season, fell to Santa Clara by a score of 1-0 on Friday, Aug 27 inside Stevens Stadium.

This was the first game of the season for both the Mustangs (0-1) and the Broncos (1-0).

Though the two squads appeared evenly matched throughout, it was all Broncos in the first half, as they dominated in nearly every category. 

In the first half, the Mustangs were out-shot 8-1, and took no corner kicks to Santa Clara’s three. This lack of attack was due in large part to the multiple and frequent fouls they conceded and miscommunication on defense, including a yellow card for senior defender Josh Graham in the 28th minute.

However, thanks to a strong showing by junior goalie Carlos Arce-Hurtado, who had five saves and one goal allowed in total, the game remained scoreless at the break.

The second half seemed to be trending in the Mustangs’ favor for the first 25 minutes, as they began to find their rhythm both offensively and defensively. 

The Cal Poly passes became quicker and more effective, leading to more opportunities on the attack and a much cleaner half physically, as they finished the night with four fewer fouls than the Broncos. 

However, the tide of the game turned in the 79th minute, when Cal Poly senior defender Jackson Brady was shown a red for an intentional handball. This left Cal Poly with 10 men and a penalty shot for Dominic Vegaalban, which he tucked into the lower right corner of the net to give the Broncos the 1-0 lead and, 11 minutes later, the win.

Despite losing by just one goal, the Mustangs were outshot 15-6. However, Cal Poly recorded two more saves than Santa Clara, as Arce-Hurtado prevented five goals compared to the three goals saved by the Broncos.

The Mustangs will continue their opening road trip and look for their first win since 2019 when they travel to Saint Mary’s Stadium to take on the Gaels on Monday, Aug. 30 at 4:00PM.

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