By Liliana Marquez
Despite completely dominating second half play, the men’s soccer team had to settle for a draw versus Mt. San Antonio College with a score of 1-1,last Friday at Weingart Stadium.
It was the second time the Huskies and the Mounties faced each other in conference play this season. The Mounties won as home team on the first game with a final score of 1-0. This was an important match for the Huskies, and it was expected to be a great game with a lot of goals, and a great performance by both the Huskies and the South Coast Conference defending champions.
The Huskies were looking to notch a victory after settling for a 3-3 draw versus Los Angeles Harbor College last week. Salvador Medrano, who gave the assist for the goal, along with ELAC’s midfielders were a key to the result, especially during the second half were the Huskies had about 75 percent of ball possession.
ELAC’s David Farias, who had not been given a lot of minutes on the field, was also a key player scoring the tying goal for the Huskies. The match kicked off with the Huskies having the first goal attempt with Christian Ventura taking a shot that the Mounties’ goalkeeper was able to catch without complication followed by a goal kick by the away team. A minute later, ELAC had their first throw-in taken by Galo Moreno and Kevin Gomez took a shot that went over the crossbar.
This was followed by a throw-in by the Mounties, which Adolfo Larios was able to reject; generating a counterattack move where Omar Garcia sent a weak shot that the Mounties’ goalkeeper was able to catch without problems. ELAC’s goalkeeper Juan Escobar came into action during minute seven, when the Mounties had a goal attempt that he was able to frustrate. Two minutes later, the Mounties generated a counterattack that finished with a weak and off target shot. During those first 10 minutes, the Huskies were having trouble gaining control of the ball.
Mt. San Antonio took advantage of an opportunity and was able to open the scoring with an early goal during minute 13. During minute 18, Garcia had to leave the field because of an injury. Up to that point, the Mounties were having more control of the ball and they kept attacking and putting pressure on the Huskies. ELAC made some changes to see if they could find a way to even the score.
The Huskies never gave in and fought back until the final whistle. A foul was committed on ELAC’s Bryan Hoist during minute 25, and teammate Julio Fernandez took a shot that did not cause any trouble to the Mounties. ELAC made another change to the current team in an attempt to find the right balance to score the equalizer. Kevin Gomez left the field, and Jimmy Espinal took his place.
The Mounties had an opportunity to score their second goal during minute 27, when a header by one of their players went off the field despite being alone in front of ELAC’s goalkeeper Escobar. ELAC had a great opportunity to even the score when Adolfo Larios was able to score, but the assistant referee caught the Huskies offside, and the goal was disallowed.
Two minutes later, Moreno who had just entered the field was booked with a yellow card. A foul committed over Espinal gave an opportunity to Anthony Gonzalez to take a shot, generating another goal attempt for the Huskies. Danny Suarez, who entered as a change 20 minutes before, was able to center the ball but his shot was too long for any of his teammates to reach.
Suarez generated another good move by sending a pass to Moreno took a shot that the Mounties’ goalie was able to stop two minutes before halftime. The game went to halftime with the defending champions leading the score over the Huskies 1-0. The Huskies needed to come strong during the second half, to take advantage of the Mounties’ mistakes, and score the equalizer.
Their midfield was a key factor for this. They could not leave any space nor make any mistakes because that could cost them another goal, and eventually a defeat. As the second half kicked off, the Huskies were able to steal the ball, and Suarez took it with him to the other side of the field, giving a pass to Farias who took a shot but failed to cause problems for the Mounties. The supporters of both teams were seeing how ELAC was starting little by little to take control of the game.
At minute 52, ELAC was attacking and coming on strong. Suarez generated a move where Espinal took a shot that went over the crossbar. Two minutes later came ELAC’s moment to show their potential, and work as a team by scoring their goal. The move was generated by Farias who gave a pass to Medrano who took the ball running toward the opposite side to the right corner of the field.
Farias kept running to the left corner, and Medrano gave a center shot. Farias was able to take the ball and slip it into the net to score and even the game 1-1. This was Farias’ first goal in his college career. After scoring their goal, the Huskies were more confident and started showing more of their skills and abilities over the field. Three minutes later, ELAC had a great opportunity to go up with the scoring when they were awarded a corner kick.
Espinal took the corner shot and the Mounties’ goalkeeper was able to reject it with his fists but the ball went directly to ELAC’s Medrano who without thinking twice took a powerful shot that went over the crossbar. ELAC’s goalkeeper Escobar kept showing his potential by making another great save at minute 58. Suarez was booked with a yellow card after questioning one of the referee’s decisions, and Coach Flores decided to take him out, putting Christian Ventura back on the field.
Both teams were starting to get tired after playing at a high level during the first half and part of the second half, and this was starting to reflect on their performance as the game started to slow down. ELAC kept looking to score to achieve their fifth victory in conference play, while the Mounties wanted to avoid losing for the first time in conference this season. However, the game ended in a draw, giving the Huskies their third consecutive match without losing, and the Mounties their second draw in conference play.
After the game Assistant Coach Feliper Bernal gave his post match comments. “The midfield was the key to today’s result. This was an important game, but the next two games will be crucial for us. We have a great chance of going to playoffs. We tried to motivate the players by telling them that they
ELAC’s Salvador Medrano who had an outstanding performance shared his thoughts on the game, “For the first half we played good, but we needed to press more. For the second half we did what we had to do, played with pride, and defend our school.”
David Farias who scored ELAC’s goal said, “We played good today. It was a team effort. I feel amazing, awesome, and grateful. For me the key of tonight’s result was the hard work from all of us, even the bench, because the gave us a lot of energy and motivation.” ELAC’s next home game will be tomorrow versus Compton College at 2 p.m. at Weingart Stadium where the Huskies will look to score another victory against the Tartars.