SAN JOSE, Calif. – Sacramento State found the back of the net three times on Thursday, including a late, 80th-minute goal to break a 2-2 tie and send the Hornets home with the 3-2 win.
The win is Sacramento State's first on the young season as the Hornets improve to 1-2-0. San Jose State, meanwhile, loses for the first time this year, falling to 1-1-0.
Sacramento State's attack was incredibly efficient against the Spartans of San Jose State, placing six of eight shots on goal and scoring on three of them.
The first strike came 36 minutes into the match by Jhared Willcot, giving the Hornets a 1-0 advantage. After a poor free kick by the Spartans, Sacramento State immediately began to counter, building up through midfield. From the top of the box, Oscar Govea found a breaking Tyler Moss on the outside. Moss quickly crossed the ball to the far side of the box to a leaping Jhared Willcot, who headed the ball forcefully into the back of the net.
Later, it was Govea getting involved again, this time heading home a goal of his own to give the Hornets a 2-0 advantage in the 56th. Similar to the team's first goal, this one came on a cross into the box – this time off the foot of Genaro Alfaro – to a perfectly positioned Govea, who dropped down and headed the ball in for the score.
Thursday night's match was a physical one, as well, and now where was that more evident than in a collision between Sacramento State keeper Ryan Curtis and a San Jose State attacker. Both hit the ground hard and, after a time, Curtis was replaced by freshman Mac Learned.
The Spartans took advantage of the change and the swing in momentum to strike for two quick scores in the 64th and 70th minutes, leveling the match, 2-2.
The two teams traded possession for the next 10 minutes, but a Sacramento State free kick in the Spartans' half of the field set the stage for the Hornets' game winner.
Alfaro took the free kick for Sacramento State from roughly 36 yards out, sending the ball soaring into the far side of the box for an oncoming group of Hornets attackers. Hornets and Spartans alike leapt into the air looking for contact, but it was Michael Gonzalez who connected, heading the ball past a frozen San Jose State keeper for the eventual game-winner in the 80th minute.
The goal was the second for Gonzalez in the team's last two matches and the second of his career. It was his first game-winning goal.
The three goals scored were the most by the Hornets since scoring four at home in a 4-2 win against San Francisco in September of 2019.
After three straight road matches to start the season, Sacramento State will finally return to Hornet Field for its home opener on Sunday, Sept. 10 against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Sunday's match will kick off at 1:05 p.m. and will stream live on ESPN+.
Prior to kickoff on Sunday, the men's soccer program will celebrate the life of Talon Bonanno in a special pregame ceremony with the team, alumni, and Talon's family. Talon, Sacramento State's honorary team captain for four seasons, lost his battle with cancer earlier this year.
For the latest men's soccer news, notes, and schedule, be sure to visit the Sacramento State men's soccer homepage online at HornetSports.com.