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Ortega Sees Red but Matadors Win


NORTHRIDGE — Relying on an 18-year old to lead a college team is a lot to ask, but midfielder Tony Ortega of Cal State Northridge has accepted the challenge.

However, with Ortega sitting with his parents eating a hot dog after receiving a red card for a slide tackle in the 37th minute, it was time for someone else to accept the challenge.

With freshmen forward Cesar Martinez, who has been used sparingly this season, coming off the bench to provide offense, Christian Perez provided defense by blocking a penalty kick with one second remaining and the Matadors avoided a school-record seventh consecutive loss with a 2-1 victory over San Diego State on Friday evening in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game.

"I had a dream this was going to happen," Perez said. "I knew it was going to come down to something like this. That's why I was laughing when the penalty kick was called.

"Blocking the kick was probably the single best feeling I've ever had at this school. It's not that often a goalkeeper has an opportunity to win the game."

Martinez's first college goal broke a 1-1 tie in the 52nd minute. He took a pass from Junior Palacios and beat goalkeeper Brian Barnes.

"It feels great," Martinez said. "I've been injured most of the season. It's nice to score the goal that wins the game. I'm happy we got out of this losing streak."

After struggling on offense in the first half, the Matadors (5-9, 1-3 in MPSF play) used Ortega's ejection as motivation.

"Tony [Ortega] brings a lot of energy to the field," said Coach Terry Davila of Northridge. "We knew we had to fill the void and everybody stepped up. At first I thought to myself, 'What's next?' But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. We've stuck together through everything this season."

Midfielder Alan Fiedler gave San Diego State (4-10, 0-3) a 1-0 lead on a header in the 10th minute.

William Diaz tied the score on a penalty kick in the 30th minute.

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