By Stephanie Guevara
A fierce contest between two long-time rivals resulted in a men’s soccer victory, on a late goal, over Rio Hondo College,1-0, Friday at Weingart Stadium.
East Los Angeles College’s dominance angered Rio Hondo players, resulting in many aggressive fouls.
In minute 47 of the game, sophomore midfielder Carlos Zarate received a red card after an aggressive foul, where he elbowed ELAC sophomore fullback Jorge Mejia.
After Zarate’s red card, a series of fouls by players and questionable acts from the referees started to intensify the game.
A few minutes later, Rio Hondo sophomore defender Abel Trejo kicked ELAC winger Luis Alvarado in the face, while he was on the ground, cutting Alvarado’s lip.
Alvarado left the field with blood in his mouth, and Trejo received a yellow card.
“Rio is a really physical team and we know that. The 90 minutes were really hard. We wanted to win because we needed it,” ELAC central defender Agustin Barros said.
“The intensity of the game was very good.”
A total of six yellow cards and one red card were given in the game.
“This is one of those games where you have a team that has a great self image of itself and a coaching staff that thinks highly of themselves. So when two teams of that caliber meet, sparks are to be expected,” assistant coach David Garcia said.
The Huskies performed more offensively throughout the game, opposed to the previous game, having 14 shots on goal.
In minute 82 of the game, sophomore forward Valentin Mercado received a ground ball, as he was falling, from the left wing by sophomore forward Edward Robles to score the goal for ELAC.
“I’m glad we scored because we needed the win,” Mercado said.
We lost our first game and we can’t have two straight losses.”
Alvarado had several shots on goal, one of which was a one-on-one encounter with Rio Hondo goalkeeper Jose Paredes at the end of the game.
“This is probably one of the worst games we’ve ever played. East LA deserved it (referring to the win),” Rio Hondo head coach Orlando Brenes said.
“We have another shot to play them, and if we don’t wake up, it won’t be any different.”
ELAC and Rio Hondo have a history of intense games and bad referee calls.
Last season, when ELAC played Rio Hondo at home, the Huskies lost on an offside goal at the 90 minute mark.
“We have a good rivalry going on and it is always great to play teams like that. Last season we ended up losing on a questionable decision from the refs,” Garcia said.
“This game was no different. There are other factors we cannot control, like the refs decisions, and we hope they aren’t a big deal.”
ELAC’s defense maintained strength throughout the game, not allowing Rio Hondo’s offensive plays to become dangerous.
“Today’s game was a tough one. It was a close one and very tactical…We can’t let that happen anymore during conference games because we missed three points (referring to the defensive errors against Mt. SAC), “ ELAC goalkeeper coach Andy Gutierrez said.
“We worked on our defensive shape in practice, and today it paid off.”
The Huskies defeated Pasadena City College yesterday 3-1 at Pasadena.
ELAC sophomore forward Edward Robles provided the assists for all three goals.
ELAC now ranks 2-1 in conference play.