By Noe Ortega
Men’s soccer kicked off its first home preseason game with a 5-0 win over Norco College Sept. 1.
The Huskies were in complete dominance in the first half, scoring three goals and stopping Norco from shooting the ball the first 45 minutes.
“When we quit touching the ball, then we have problems. When people start playing as individuals, we have problems. When we start playing as a team collectively, then we get results,” head coach Eddie Flores said.
The Huskies are currently undefeated in their preseason with two wins, two draws and scored 13 goals in their four matches.
East Los Angeles College sophomore midfielder Valentin Mercado led the team with two goals and an assist. “We felt good. We were all touching the ball. We argued a little bit, but it wasn’t enough to get our minds down and it was working out,” Mercado said.
Freshman midfielder Edy Martinez opened the score for ELAC in the 11th minute of the game from an assist by Mercado.
Husky Sophomore attacker Edward Robles was taken down in the penalty box minutes after scoring where the referee awarded a penalty. Sophomore midfielder William Morse stepped up to take the penalty and was denied by Norco goalkeeper.
ELAC scored its second goal off of a cross from sophomore defender Andres Martinez for Mercado to score a header.
Mercado scored his second goal of the game in the 47th minute to make it 4-0 off of another cross, this time from sophomore midfielder Jose Gracia.
The game was stopped by the referee every 15 minutes of the first and second half for a minute so that both teams could hydrate due to the heat.
Morse intercepted the ball in the midfield and took on two Norco defenders to assist Freshman forward Kevin Rodriquez to make it 3-0 in favor of ELAC.
Freshman midfielder Guillermo Guzman also got on the score sheet after Norco goalkeeper made a mistake and let go of the ball to score a wide open shot and make it 5-0.
Coach Flores let his players rest after making substitutions throughout the game, including the goalie. The Huskies roster has a total of 32 players, 20 of which are freshman and 13 sophomores.
“What’s special about this team is that we have about 10 sophomores and they’ve all been recruited from different colleges or internationals, and they all come with a lot of experience,” assistant coach Ricardo Raygoza said.
ELAC had majority possession of the ball throughout the game and scored five goals out of the eight shots they had.
The Huskies are averaging 10.3 shots per game and average four goals per game.
“I think this is a play-off bound team. I think we’re heading to the playoffs, if we stay healthy; it’s a long season and a lot of it will depend by kids staying healthy and not getting injured,” coach Flores said.
Norco head coach Francisco Melgarejo refused to comment on the game and mentioned that ELAC played better.
The Huskies played on Saturday at Santiago Canyon and tied 1-1. ELACs’ next home game is September 8 against Orange Coast College at 6 p.m.