By Liliana Marquez
September 2, 2012
The men’s soccer team tied the No. 1-ranked team in the state, San Bernardino Valley College, 1-1, at East Los Angeles College’s Weingart Stadium on Friday night.
The teams tied for the third time in four years. As a result, ELAC dropped to No. 11 when the polls were released yesterday. San Bernardino remained top ranked.
Despite dominating most of the game, the Huskies were not able to get the win.
“We should not be taking any ties at home. I am surprised because we have so many returning players. We had one goal, but that’s the game,” Head Coach Eddie Flores said.
ELAC’s starting lineup consisted of ten returning players including returning goalkeeper Juan Escobar and first-year player Cesar Lopez with a 4-4-2 formation.
The first clear goal attempt by the Huskies came in minute eight when Cesar Benitez generated a play, which allowed Yuchen Wang to take a shot, which was stopped by the Wolverines goalkeeper.
Despite having many chances to score over the first 15 minutes, ELAC did not seem to find a way to put the ball in, while the Wolverines scored and took an early lead.
The Wolverines made a play in the 20th minute but the Huskies defense was able to steal the ball, generating a counter-attack move where Salvador Medrano blasted a dangerous and powerful shot that went over the crossbar.
The Wolverines made a mistake fifteen minutes before the end of the half that almost cost them their 1-0 lead, but the Huskies couldn’t connect.
A throw in by Brian Hoist in the 31st minute was blocked by the goalkeeper. The ball fell to Medrano’s feet and he took a shot that went over the crossbar.
The half ended with the Wolverines holding on to their 1-0 lead.
Thirty minutes before the end of the game, the Wolverines were awarded a corner kick and Medrano prevented them from scoring.
ELAC then generated a counter-attack where Medrano had yet another chance to tie the score, but the ball did not go in.
The efforts by the Huskies paid off in the 70th minute and Carlos del Campo scored his first goal as a Husky.
ELAC kept putting pressure on SBVC but the game ended one all.
“We are not satisfied. We had so many opportunities to score and win this game, but I feel happy for scoring because I don’t like to lose at home,” del Campo said.
Assistant Coach Felipe Bernal would rather wait to compare this year’s team with last year’s.
“I normally like to do my balance around the fifth or sixth game to find out where we are gonna be at, because we need to see different opponents. The game before, (San Diego Mesa) the opponent that we saw was weaker than this one,” Bernal said.
Flores said that the upcoming games will be a challenge for the Huskies.
“I don’t think this was a true test, neither was San Diego. I think the Oxnard game and Taft game are gonna be more of our true tests,” Flores said.
The coaches also shared their thoughts about the game and the team’s performance.
Assistant Coach Javier Aguiñiga said that the team just couldn’t score during the first half.
“We were developing plays, we were producing plays; we were coming in through the sides and coming in through the middle; we were centering, but we were just not putting them in. I think in the second half, we practically had to force it (the ball) in,” Aguiñiga said.
Aguiñiga also said that this year’s team is better than last year’s because of the development that they have achieved over the years. He said that for the past three years, the number of returners has increased.
“If you look at our returners numbers, the first year we had two or three returners, the next year we had about six or seven. In this year we have a starting 11 coming back,” Aguiñiga said.
ELAC will travel to Oxnard College to face the No. 2-ranked team in the state on Tuesday at 4 p.m.