By Liliana Marquez
The Huskies ended non-conference play with a 2-2 draw against Southwestern College last Friday at Weingart Stadium.
Conference play begins this week against rivals that include four top-25 ranked teams in the state, including No. 18 Long Beach City College.
The Huskies square off with Pasadena City College at home Friday at 6 p.m. ELAC begins SCC games with an overall record of 2-1-4, with two clean sheets.
The Huskies have scored a total of 22 goals while allowing ten goals in seven games. Husky Adolfo Larios has scored a total of six goals to date, followed by two goals each from Giovani Reyes, Omar Garcia, Yuchen Wang and Daniel Llanos.
SWC was looking for their sixth non-conference victory, but the Huskies came from behind and left them with their third straight draw. Southwestern’s Head Coach Cem Tont said that the Jaguars dominated, but should have capitalized the third goal to win the game.
ELAC opened the scoring in the third minute when Salvador Medrano passed to Daniel Llanos, who angled the ball and gave the Huskies the early lead. This was Llanos’ second goal of the season.
“We got caught off guard. It was a fast, easy goal, but we settled in, we got in the pace and we took over,” Jaguar Esteban Salcedo said about ELAC’s early goal.
According to Husky Jimmy Espinal, they felt over-confident after the goal and thought things were under control, but the Jaguars proved them wrong. SWC generated a counterattack over the 12th minute.
The Huskies were able to win the ball back by counterattacking, but Cesar Benitez was not able to capitalize for ELAC.
Around the 19-minute mark SWC was awarded a free kick on midfield and ELAC’s goalkeeper and captain Juan Escobar stopped the shot. Husky Edwin Fajardo prevented SWC from scoring the draw over minute 20 by blocking the ball.
A free kick was awarded to the Huskies after a foul was committed over Espinal. Larios took the shot which went without causing trouble to SWC’s goalkeeper Edgar Ochoa.
The first half proved to be great for ELAC’s goalkeeper Escobar, who prevented the Jaguars from scoring from their many attempts.
The momentum for the Jaguars came during the 54th minute when Salcedo scored the tie and also his first goal as a Jaguar. Seconds later SWC scored another goal on a play capitalized by Angel Gonzalez, which gave them the lead.
Andy Vega scored soon afterwards and the Huskies earned their fourth draw of the season. “I feel like we are in the playoffs. We have molded into a team. We are finally ready for conference and we are strong,” Vega said.
ELAC received four yellow cards during the game. Fajardo, Jeovani Lorenzo, Vega and Reyes were the players booked.
ELAC’s Assistant Coach Javier Aguiñiga showed himself confident with the team and said that the team will be okay despite the fact that they have three potential starters hurt. Aguiñiga also said that ELAC is ready to become one of the best teams in the South Coast Conference.
“I think the team is ready to just jump start to be one of the best in the conference. We tied against really good teams. We had a very good start and we beat the teams we had to beat,” Aguiñiga said.