By Liliana Marquez
The men’s soccer team kept the possibility of advancing to the playoffs alive after a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the Long Beach City College Vikings last Friday at Weingart Stadium.
The goals by Huskies Carlos del Campo and Juan Martinez along with an impressive second-half performance by the ELAC defense gave the Huskies their third conference victory.
“The whole team came together and played as a team scoring the 2-1. They defended with their everything,” ELAC Goalkeeper Coach Jose Sanchez said.
The Huskies had won only two of their last seven conference games.
According to del Campo, the Huskies played with heart and gave it all on the field. For him and the rest of the team the game was a must win.
The first goal attempt of the game was a play started by the Huskies, but Cesar Benitez failed to open the score.
LBCC opened the score when Andre Martinez sent the ball in during the 19th minute with Husky goalkeeper Victor Guzman unable to prevent the score.
A thrown-in by Husky Daniel Llanos almost resulted in a goal, but teammate Omar Garcia sent the ball off the field, failing to even the score in the 27th minute.
ELAC was awarded a free kick and Adolfo Larios shot the ball just above the crossbar, unable to score.
The Huskies took more risks and had a better performance during the second half.
“We know they (the Huskies) have the talent, energy and everything to do it. We told them to go out there and play as hard as they played the first half. This game was a must win for us,” Sanchez said.
Husky Garcia passed the ball to del Campo who shot the ball, hitting the far goalpost, missing a chance to even the score.
Llanos took a corner kick and teammate del Campo was at the right place to even the score with less than half an hour before the end. This was del Campo’s second goal as a Husky.
After the goal, the Huskies created numerous plays looking for the win.
It was Martinez on the 79th minute who turned around the score after a play that started off a corner kick. This was Martiez’s first goal in his college career.
LBCC kept trying to tie the game, but the Huskies defended well.
“We made some adjustments at practice during the week. We defended for the first time as a team,” ELAC Head Coach Eddie Flores said.
“We had a serious talk before the game and everyone knew how valuable those three points were. We had to be offensive until the end of the game. It was a team victory and we proved that we are capable of turning this season around,” Larios said.
The Huskies, who now stand 3-5 in conference and 5-6-4 overall with nine conference points know that losing is not an option anymore.
If they want to advance to playoffs, they will have to win at least five of the six next games.
“We had to win this game. We have to win five of the next six games to go to the playoffs,” Flores said.
“We came out to win the game in the second half because losing is not an option anymore. We lose a game and there goes our season. There is so much talent (on the team) to not make it to playoffs” Benitez said.
ELAC will return to action Friday on the road as they face Mt. San Antonio College currently ranked second statewide and hold an overall record of 13-1, 7-1 for SCC conference.