By Liliana Marquez
The men’s soccer team finished the regular season with a tie versus the Cerritos College Falcons at Weingart Stadium with a score of 1-1 last week. With this result, the Huskies not only secured a place in the playoffs, but will also host on the 1st round game versus the Long Beach Vikings next Saturday, November 19 at 6 p.m.
Danny Suarez was able to score a late goal over minute 93, giving the Huskies and their supporters a memorable moment in a night full of tension and excitement. ELAC also finished the second half of conference play unbeaten with three victories and four ties.
The Huskies finished regular season with an overall record of 11-4-6 and a conference record of 6-2-6. They also ended in 3rd place on the South Coast Conference standings and on 11th place statewide.
ELAC’s forward Danny Suarez ended the regular season as the top scorer for the Huskies with 10 goals, followed by forward Kevin Gomez with eight, and defender Galo Moreno with six. Together, these three players scored 24 goals, which are half of the total the Huskies were able to score during regular season.
ELAC’s goalkeeper Juan Escobar was again a key player for the Huskies, preventing the Falcons from scoring more goals and obtaining a victory. Escobar who played 1800 minutes on regular season, has a total of 21 goals against and 121 saves.
In a match full of tension, excitement and with both teams performing well, the Huskies showed that they are a team that never gives in and fights until the final whistle. ELAC kicked off with a 4-4-2 formation, having only two forwards up front to score and four midfielders to bottle up the Falcons and stop them from causing troubles to ELAC’s defense and goalkeeper.
Three minutes into the first half came the first opportunity for the Huskies. The Falcons committed a foul over ELAC’s Kevin Gomez, and the Huskies were awarded a free kick which was taken by Kevin Lichtenwalter.
Galo Moreno intercepted the ball with a header sending it over the crossbar. The Huskies kept attacking and putting pressure over the Falcons.
Over minute 14, Escobar made a great save by throwing himself to the ground to catch the ball preventing the Falcons from scoring. Two minutes later, the Falcons were able to score an early goal, but this did not prevent the Huskies from attacking and putting pressure on Cerritos to score the equalizer. Giovanni Reyes had a chance to score during minute 28, when he was alone in front of the Falcons’ goalkeeper but failed to send the ball in.
During minute 37, the Falcons committed a foul over ELAC’s Guannan Wang, and defender Anthony Gonzalez missed another chance to score as his shot went off the field. The rest of the first half both teams keep putting pressure on each other and went to half time with the Falcons leading 1-0 over the Huskies.
The Falcons kept trying to extend the score, but ELAC’s goalkeeper Escobar kept showing security in himself and his team with a remarkable performance during the second half. About 12 minutes before the final whistle, Coach Flores made an important change having Geovanni Rodriguez out of the field and sending Danny Suarez back in.
ELAC’s momentum came over minute 93. It all started with a throw-in by Moreno, Suarez saw a defender from the Falcons and teammate Gomez jumping for the ball and clashing in the air.
The ball was in the area and Suarez gave a crossed shot that the goalkeeper was unable to reach, sending the ball in, and scoring a tremendous goal to finish the match with a score of 1-1. ELAC’s Athletic Director Al Cone was excited after the game, “It was a great game and a great performance by the Huskies. I’m very excited about having our school hosting the first round of playoffs for us. It is a great time to be the athletic director at ELAC,” said Cone.
Assistant Coach Felipe Bernal shared his thoughts about the game, “It was a very tense game. We deserved the tie. The team put a lot of effort and pressure over the Falcons. Everybody responded, and we are not thinking of losing.” As far as the goalkeeper’s outstanding performance Bernal said, “He is very athletic and he is doing what he is supposed to do. He is doing his job.”
ELAC’s Head Coach Eddie Flores said, “This game was more of a playoffs game. Cerritos looked tired. It was a very intense game. We made some changes before the end and Suarez was in the right place at the right time to score the equalizer.”
Danny Suarez was satisfied with the result and the team’s effort, “I’m very happy because even though I entered about 10 minutes before the end, I was able to score the equalizer. The result was a team effort, but I’m very happy to end regular season as the top scorer for ELAC. Now is time for us to focus on the playoffs,” said Suarez.
Suarez also shared his thoughts on Escobar’s performance, “I believe he is the key to our confidence because he gives the rest of the team a lot of security,” said Suarez.
Forward Giovanni Reyes said, “We could have done better if we have started stronger in the beginning and didn’t allow them to score so early. We gave everything we had, we showed Cerritos that we weren’t going down without a fight.”