FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton's Anthony Rosales and Jesse Escalante each found the back of the net and the Titans' defense teamed up for its first shutout of the season as the home side blanked visiting Air Force, 2-0, on Thursday night in a non-conference men's soccer match-up at Titan Stadium.
The victory gave Fullerton back-to-back victories for the first time in 2012 as the Titans improved to 3-6 overall on the season, scoring multiple goals for the third consecutive match (seven total) after scoring just four goals through their first six matches of the year. The Falcons fell to 3-4-1 overall with the loss.
"It was a good win for the team tonight coming of the good result against Syracuse on Sunday," Head Coach Bob Ammann said. "We are growing as a team and the results are indicative of that. Getting the goal seconds before the half was a big lift and gave the boys some added confidence."
Air Force had the first two solid chances of the match as Kevin Durr's rocket from the top of the box off a pass from Zane Dydasco clanged off the left post in the sixth minute and Dydasco's chance in the 14th minute off a turnover scooted just wide.
However, with time running down in the first half, it was the head of Rosales who put Fullerton on the board first, converting on a header off a corner from Mario Alvarez for the 1-0 lead. It was Rosales' second tally of the year and his second game-winning strike of the season.
Escalante, the reigning Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week, then put it out of reach in the 78th minute, blasting home a rebound of a shot by Julian Okai over an outstretched Matt Underwood in net for the 2-0 lead. It was the fifth goal of the year for Escalante – just one shy of his career total of six entering this season -- and the fourth-straight contest with a goal for the senior. He now leads the team with 11 points overall.
"We have shown the ability to create opportunities all season, the difference between these games and our earlier games is we are starting to put chances away," Ammann said. "We will start preparing tomorrow for Sunday's game against San Diego which will be the last opportunity we have to get ourselves ready for the start of conference next week."
Fullerton outshot Air Force, 19-11, for the match, putting seven on frame. Mark Vasquez and Ian Ramos, who had an attempt smothered from close-in to start the second half, each had three shots to pace the Titans while Dydasco finished with four shots to pace the Falcons.
Junior goalkeeper Robbie Hannon, playing in place of redshirt freshman Adam Zepeda after a red card against Syracuse on Sept. 16, posted his first clean sheet as a Titan, finishing with four saves on the night while Underwood was credited with five saves for Air Force.
Fullerton closes out its non-conference schedule on Sunday (Sept. 23) at 5 p.m. as the Titans play host to San Diego, which suffered a 5-0 loss to Cal State Northridge on Friday.