With only a few conference games left, the men’s soccer team stepped up against an unbalanced East Los Angeles team (3-2) to give the Lancers some hope for a playoff spot.
ELAC’s field, much larger than that of PCC’s, gave the opportunity for the Lancers to alternate more around the pitch by stretching out the formation and passing the ball through open spaces.
After a few warning shots from both teams, it was the Lancers who struck first in the 18th minute. Romeo Sislian received the ball in ELAC’s half and paced forward with enough space and blasted a shot from outside the 18 yard box, hitting the goalkeepers top left post and in.
“We definitely came out strong,” said Marlon Flores. “Are coaches said, ‘enjoy the game and have fun with it’ – to just play your game.”
In several games in the past, when up 1-0, the Lancers have pressured themselves while trying to preserve a lead that falls into the opponent’s favor to level the playing field.
This escalated for PCC 10 minutes after when a gift from the backline saw ELAC’s forward Edward Robles steal a misplaced pass to assist a Valentin Mercado tap-in goal and tied things up 1-1.
In the second half, both goalkeepers made spectacular saves, keeping the score leveled. Andrew Espinoza tallied 6 saves out of 8 shots on target, while ELAC’s goalkeeper tallied 10 saves out of 13 shots on target.
In the 74th minute a penalty went in favor for the Lancers when ELAC’s defender brought down Pablo Buenrostro inside the penalty box after a breakaway play. Buenrostro without hesitation scored from the penalty spot to give Lancers a 2-1 lead.
After being pushed up as a center-forward from a roaming center midfielder, Buenrostro now has 7 goals this season, including 3 goals in the SCC.
“We came in thinking we have to make playoffs,” said Buenrostro. “The field at PCC is very small, but this field opened up more space and it’s easier to play and I guess we took advantage of the space.”
PCC held their ground, cutting off any dangerous play. Center-back Joey Knowles led from the backline, constantly communicating with his teammates and making sure they kept focus.
Running out of time, ELAC became frustrated and fouled the opposition on several occasions. Seven minutes later ELAC stymied any chance to level the score as the Lancers added their third goal of the afternoon. A free kick from Anthony Jimenez outside the corner of the penalty area, found Sislian who grazed the cross with his head to see it bounce into the goalkeepers top right corner.
“I feel great, before the game I told myself to just go out there and play your hardest, show what you’re capable of and I think I did exactly that,” said Sislian. “If the goals come, they come. I’m trying my hardest for the team to win.”
The Huskies added a consolation goal in the 87th minute of play, but it was too little too late as Lancers took the win 3-2.
Only two SCC games remain for PCC, one at home against Mt. San Antonio College on Tuesday November 7th at 1:00 p.m. and away at Rio Hondo College on Friday November 10th at 4:00 p.m.