The men’s soccer team succumbed to a fast-finishing LA Harbor Seahawks team, losing 2-1 at Robinson Stadium on Tuesday.
With only one point separating both teams in the conference standings before kick-off, there was a lot of significance resting on the outcome of this encounter. The Lancers were trying to snap a two game losing streak, while the Seahawks were attempting to break a streak of three draws as well as trying to avenge a 2-1 defeat to PCC in the first half of the season.
The biggest stake in this game was a small chance to sneak into the South Coast Conference post-season playoffs. PCC was ranked No. 22 in the power rankings, while LA Harbor stood at No. 21. The winner still had a chance to make the final 14 if they are the victor in the final three games.
LA Harbor took control of proceedings in the opening exchanges by making a couple of attacking raids, but couldn’t penetrate the Lancers defense. PCC’s co-captain George Barba and defender David Abeyta combined brilliantly to avert a Seahawks offensive strike, with Barba blocking a pinpoint shot and Abeyta colliding with the goalie and rebounding the ball away from the net.
In the 16th minute, Pasadena surged to a 1-0 lead due to some exceptional teamwork by forward Christian Palacios and defender Kris Carjaval. The Seahawks’ goalie fumbled a Lancers corner kick and Palacios pounced by chipping the ball over the goalkeeper, with Carjaval’s header guiding the ball into the back of the net.
The home team’s fluid attack and brick-wall defense was working in unison due to elevated intensity, crisp passing and desperate retrievals in the back when the Seahawks threatened.
In the second-half LA Harbor looked like a different team due to more penetrating offense, which outshot PCC 23-10 and finally cracked the Lancers defense in the 61st minute because of some quick thinking. The Seahawks caught their opponents sleeping by taking an unexpected corner kick which didn’t allow the Lancers’ defense to prepare for the ensuing header that tied the game.
This goal stung PCC even more because only a minute earlier they had a golden opportunity to capitalize on a rare breakaway. Palacios passed the ball to co-captain Victor Manchaca, who couldn’t get the ball past the visitor’s goalkeeper.
According to sophomore forward Luis Ramirez, his side was very unlucky to come away with the loss due to a lack of execution.
“We had two opportunities that we couldn’t capitalize on and finish, to get ahead on the scoreboard. It would have been a 3-1 game,” Ramirez said.
The Seahawks dominated the rest of the game due to unstoppable runs, accurate passing and superior skills. The match-winning goal came with 19 minutes remaining, which took even more sting out of PCC and they weren’t able to retaliate.
“We started playing defense and the momentum just came at us,” Abeyta said .
Lancers’ head coach Edgar Manvelyan was disappointed that his side didn’t maintain their level of fight in the second half, but attributed the loss to LA Harbor’s hunger and a change of momentum.
“The momentum changed when we had three starters whose injuries from the previous game bothered them and they couldn’t keep up. It all kind of fell apart from there,” Manvelyan said. “They wanted it more, they came out in the second half and played really well, attacked us and saw the weaknesses. We kind of panicked and sat back after the tying goal.”
The Lancers next face Cerritos in an away game on Friday at 3 p.m.