M. Soccer: Cerritos comes back for 3-2 conference win

Gerardo Soto (10) assisted on a goal and had a hand in the second goal, as the Falcons defeated LA Harbor, 3-2
Gerardo Soto (10) assisted on a goal and had a hand in the second goal, as the Falcons defeated LA Harbor, 3-2

Just as they did in their previous game against Taft College last week, the Cerritos College men's soccer team was able to respond each time their opponent scored. The Falcons, who trailed twice in their South Coast Conference opener against visiting Los Angeles Harbor College on Tuesday, not only tied the game in the second half, but scored the game-winning goal in the 78th minute to pull out a 3-2 victory. Cerritos (5-1-2) will play their third straight home game at 4:00 p.m. on Friday when they face ECC Compton Center in another SCC game.

With the game knotted at 2-2, the Falcons scored their third goal of the game off a set piece, as freshman Mario Guerrero (University HS) sent a free kick into the box, where sophomore Gabriel Rivera (California HS) was there to head the ball past LA Harbor (5-2-0, 0-1-0) goalkeeper Blessing Ngwa for the eventual game-winning goal. But the game was not secure, as the Seahawks had a great scoring opportunity in extra time when Brian Gonzalez got off a point-blank shot against freshman goalkeeper Brett Hughes (Long Beach Wilson HS), who came up with a huge save.

LA Harbor took a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute of the game after freshman defender Carlos Torres (Lee Ware HS) was called for pulling down Eric Medina in the box. Medina then calmly scored on the penalty kick for an early lead. But four minutes later, freshman Jose Rivera (Torrance HS) headed home a free kick off the foot of sophomore Gerardo Soto (Salesian HS) to tie the game. Before the end of the first half, Medina would give the Seahawks a 2-1 lead, as his free kick from outside the box found the upper corner for a goal.

But the second half proved to be strong for the Falcons, who appeared to wear down their opponent, as they out-shot them, 12-5, with the Seahawks not getting their first shot at the goal until about 12 minutes remained in the game. Cerritos tied the game at 2-2 in the 67th minute when Soto sent in a corner kick that was received by freshman Thiago Lusardi (Centro Educational Ramos, Brazil HS), which was turned away by Ngwa. But the save was sent toward the head of sophomore Dominic Escobar (Roosevelt HS), who scored into an empty net.

Hughes (seven saves) also came up big in the 74th minute when he turned away a shot by Medina, while a Falcon defender kicked away a rebound shot attempt by Joey Martin.