The Lancers men’s soccer team was stunned in Friday’s loss to Cerritos College by a last-minute goal but redeemed themselves in Tuesday’s win over El Camino College-Compton Center to snap a nine-game winless streak.
El Camino-Compton was undefeated in the conference and was entering Tuesday’s game after a 3-1 win against Mt. SAC, which was ranked No. 3 in the state before the loss. Pasadena has been very close to getting a win in past games and they were confident in their chances against the Tartars.
Sophomore Sasan Shirmohammadi, who has missed their last three games with a knee injury, made his return out of position at forward on Tuesday. He is very physical and along with his size and speed, the Lancers exhibited a better attack. The tactic proved to be smart as the Warriors’ defense focused more on him than other attackers.
Pasadena also used two attackers against El Camino-Compton instead of their usual one striker.
The change in strategy succeeded in the 74th minute as freshman forward Artin Almary scored an answer to the Warriors’ 55th minute goal. It was Almary’s third goal in the last four games.
Freshman forward Christopher Chemlekian, who came into the game as a substitution in the 43rd minute, scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute from 15 yards out to secured the 2-1 win.
Head coach Edgar Manvelyan was pleased with his team’s performance on Tuesday and said they could have won their first game a few games ago.
“It’s going back three games before that. … We have been playing really well in conference,” Manvelyan said. “We got rewarded yesterday and I’m very happy for the boys. We haven’t given up and we still believe that we can do damage in league. … [El Camino-Compton] were focused on Sasan a lot … he created a lot of space.”
The Tartars’ goalkeeper finished the game with seven saves, including two shots at point-blank range. He is one of the reasons why the game was held scoreless at halftime.
The Lancers have given up six second-half goals this season against conference opponents but have answered goals more than in their preseason games.
Pasadena also received six yellow cards on Tuesday in contrast to Friday’s game without a booking. Two yellow cards on Tuesday went to freshman Yezid Lopez in the 47th minute for a foul and the 90th minute that will prevent him from playing in PCC’s next match.
Friday’s game against Cerritos College came down to the wire with both teams working for a win.
On a counter attack to break the tie with a few minutes remaining, Cerritos was fouled at midfield. Pasadena’s defense must have all blinked at the same time as the Falcons sent a free kick into the box.
Freshman goalkeeper Yusuf Elmasri, who had five saves on Friday, came out to prevent the shot but he was unable to save it as the Cerritos defender headed in the game-winning goal in the 89th minute.
“I came out but I was too late,” Elmasri said.
Cerritos came into the game undefeated in conference but the Lancers weren’t sold on their opponent’s record.
The Falcons banged first on a header from a free kick outside the box in the 10th minute.
Pasadena played the entire field and tried to attack as much as they could. It was tough for the Lancers to score but finally did with Artin Almary’s penalty kick goal in the 42nd minute.
After the Falcons scored, the Lancers fought back and had two chances to tie it again. But the Cerritos goalkeeper, who finished the game with six saves, kept his team’s undefeated conference record alive. Cerritos defeated the Lancers 2-1.
Freshman forward Heven Gomez said his team is getting more comfortable with each other the more they play.
“Our team chemistry is getting better. We are building a bond within players,” Gomez said. “We are getting to know each other well and knowing each other’s positions. Even though we aren’t fully there yet, we can see our improvements on and off the field.”
Pasadena remains optimistic and hopes to continue the momentum on Friday against an impressive Long Beach City College team. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.