The men’s soccer team played another game full of missed opportunities Tuesday, losing their third consecutive match 1-0 to Long Beach City College at Robinson Stadium.
The stage was set for an interesting tussle with the Vikings coming off a big win against the highly ranked Mt. Sac Mounties last Friday, which meant that LBCC and Pasadena shared the same conference record (2-3-1).
Also, the Vikings have been the leading defensive team in the South Coast Conference by only conceding five goals, while the Lancers have been the worst team guarding the net by allowing 16 goals.
PCC was forced to start without its co-captains George Barba and Victor Manchaca, who were benched by head coach Edgar Manvelyan for undisclosed reasons.
“There are a lot of things why George and I didn’t start,” said Manchaca.
PCC took charge of proceedings in the fourth minute with freshman Christopher Sinani almost pulling off a crisp header that was averted by the Viking’s goalie’s diving save to the right. A minute later, freshman Brandon Gerlach’s threatening free kick swerved away from the left goalpost, which left the Lancers regretting their unconverted dominance.
PCC looked like a different team with sharpened teamwork, anticipation and urgency. This higher level of play almost paid off with Sinani creating another scoring opportunity in the 19th minute by cutting through the Viking’s defense with a 20-yard run. But he took an extra touch that prevented him from a realistic scoring chance.
Defense has been a major issue for the Lancers of late, but freshman goalkeeper David Orellana made several impressive saves in the first half and was well supported by sophomore defender David Abeyta, who thwarted a few of LBCC’s attacking raids with crucial blocks and tackles.
With the game tied 0-0 at half-time, the Vikings hit the ground running several minutes after the restart, when the Lancers wall of defenders was unable to stop a curling free kick that sailed into the right corner of the net, making it 1-0 LBCC.
Sinani feels that his side plays their best soccer when they’re behind due to poor defensive starts.
“I feel that we don’t start playing well until we get scored on first and we’ve conceded way more goals than we should have,” Sinani said.
Although PCC continued to create more scoring opportunities, at times the Lancers turned over possession while pressing the Viking’s defense in their own half. Pasadena outshot Long Beach 14-12, but ultimately lost the contest because of poor offensive execution.
According to co-captain Manchaca, the Lancers have been severely affected by the last two defeats, which has fractured team spirit.
“We are on a three game losing streak because our unity and morale is down. We have to pick it up as a unit, it’s that we’re not demonstrating what we can do,” Manchaca said.“We still have an opportunity to win and we’re going to take advantage of that here and out, it’s a lesson.”
Pasadena next faces ECC Compton at home on Friday at 1 p.m.