The Lancers second home game was filled with goals and controversy, however it was Rio Hondo College who ended up on top, winning 3-2 after a tense 90 minutes of play.
The game started well for the Lancers, with an opening opportunity in the 3rd minute when a through pass into Rio Hondo’s box gave Romio Sislian a chance to go through and score. The chance would be blocked by a RHC center-back after Sislian had cleverly brushed off the goalkeeper out of his line.
Following the play, a header from a corner kick hit the post, and the collective gasps from the stands echoed throughout the field.
The Lancers linked up either from the middle of the park or from the back, as Rio Hondo found themselves fouling time to time.
The referee would only issue one yellow card for the Roadrunners.
Set pieces in the 6th and 9th minute were unfortunate to go wide.
Ten minutes later, Marlon Flores stole the ball from PCC’s area and broke away crossing the ball towards Mark Barrientos on the right side, who then delivered a perfect pass to Anthony Jimenez, curving his shot into RHC goalkeeper’s second post, giving the Lancers a 1-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived, as RHC paced into PCC’s area, crossed the ball low from the Lancers left-back area, and found Abel Machuca’s feet, who fired a low shot from 15 yards into the keeper’s net.
The score was tied at 1-1 in a little over 30 seconds after the first goal.
Controversy struck when Joey Knowles was booked with a red card in the 28th minute, following a slide tackle. Knowles thought he recovered the ball when a RHC player appeared out of nowhere to slightly beat Knowles for the ball and was unable to retract his tackle.
“One of our players missed the ball, on a header, so I just ran from one side to the other side to at least stop them from scoring another goal,” said Knowles. “I didn’t see if a player was behind me. I thought the ball was close enough for me to hit the ball out.”
The Lancers kept the pressure on, playing as if they had 11 players.
Then came a free kick for the Lancers in the 36th minute, similar to where the first two free kicks occurred. The free kick was shot thoroughly enough to go past ‘la barrera’ and dipped quick enough into the net of RHC’s goalkeeper slow reaction.
The home team, passersby and supporters alike all thought PCC had scored. The referee and his linesmen thought otherwise.
They signaled that a Lancer player had touched the ball in offsides position before the shot when in the net. The goal, which looked clear as day, was unfairly taken from the Lancers.
“It became complicated with ten men,” said Jimenez. “We needed to find a solution to reorganize the team, to be able to attack and defend, at the same time.”
Yet it is not often that referees and linesmen are rated in their performances because they often make few errors. This match proved otherwise.
However, in the 53th minute, Carlos Zarate cut to his left near the penalty area and delivered an inside foot shot from 21 yards out. PCC goalkeeper Kristopher Gutierrez misread Zarate’s shot and got a hand to it but couldn’t maneuver the shot out.
The Lancers found themselves in an un-favorable spot, yet they kept the pressure going.
After a couple chances,the 70th minute saw Flores pick up his second assist of the game, giving a through pass towards Pablo Buenrostro, who blasted his shot from 20 yards out into the RHC’s goalkeeper top left corner.
Tension rose in the 74th minute, when an argument broke out between captain Joshua Arevalo and another RHC player. The referee failed to separate the two, and players on both sides began arguing and pushing each other.
RHC swerved the ball into the penalty area from a corner kick in the 76th minute. As the ball was cleared out of the box, ever so lightly, Joseph Fuentes rushed to it, letting loose a 22 yard shot into Gutierrez’s lower right corner, putting his team up 3-2
“I thought we were unlucky because we played 70 minutes with ten men and with this heat it was kind of tough. We got scored off a set piece,” said assistant coach Gor Kirakosyan. “Unlucky, it’s part of the game, but we have got to learn from our mistakes.”
The score was 3-2 in the 77th minute.
The Lancers last gasp came in the 90th minute when a counter attack gave Flores a clear chance on goal from a cross on the left side, only to see his first time shot go wide from inches away of the net.
The Lancers take on El Camino College on Friday at 2:00 p.m.