By Ernesto Leon
The first round of playoffs ended the men’s soccer team’s season as the Long Beach Vikings won last Saturday night with a score of 3-2. ELAC faced the Vikings in an extremely tough and high adrenaline game which ended with Huskies’ aspirations to become state champions, ending with an overall record of 11-5-6.
The Huskies were looking to build on their momentum, completing the second half of conference play unbeaten. The momentum was on the Huskies side, after tying their first game against the Vikings 1-1 early in the season, and defeating them again 5-0 in their second meeting.
The match began with an early score during minute two by forward Kevin Gomez, but the goal was overturned by an offside call by the officials. ELAC came out strong dominating every aspect of the game. Seven minutes into the game, the Huskies received an opportunity of a free kick given due to an aggressive shove by a Viking defender. The free kick was taken by Gomez who came close to scoring as his shot went over the crossbar.
Seventeen minutes into the match, ELAC stole the ball. With some precise passing, and with a great shot by midfielder Yuchen Wang, the Huskies striked first, to take an early 1-0 lead. ELAC kept trying but had a lot of missed opportunities throughout the first 45 minutes of the match.
At the start of the second half, ELAC came out and continued to push the pace, controlling the game. Seven minutes into the second half, the Vikings capitalized after the referee awarded them a free kick just outside the 18 box.The ball passed right by ELAC’s goalkeeper Juan Escobar on the inside post. With this, the score was tied up at one.
About 12 minutes later, the Vikings scored once again taking advantage of miscommunications by the Huskies’ defense to increase the lead 2-1. Three minutes later, the Vikings scored yet another goal on a counterattack move to advance their lead to 3-1. With plenty of time to even up the score, ELAC went on the offensive. ELAC’s soccer team was determined not to give up, and their supporters started chanting louder as the game clock ticked away.
With 17 minutes left for the Huskies, midfielder Salvador Medrano was able to score on a rebound shot missed by defender Galo Moreno. The crowd was ecstatic, and so were the ELAC players who emptied out the benches in support of their team. ELAC kept applying pressure and attacking the Vikings’ goal, but it was not enough. The game ended with a final score of 3-2 favoring the away team, leaving the Huskies and their supporters in tears after the final whistle.
After the game, head coach Eddie Flores shared his thoughts on the game. “We prepared well for this game, I believe that we should have been up 4-0 at half, but just did not take advantage of the opportunities we had early on.” Defender Galo Moreno said, “It’s a playoff game we knew they would come out and play hard, which they did. It was the little mistakes, for example the lack of communication, which cost us this game.”