With a chance to advance to the CCCAA State Championships, the Cerritos College men's soccer team needed to knock off rival and three-time defending state champion Mt. San Antonio on Saturday. The game was played like a pair of heavyweight fighters looking for an chance to land a blow whenever possible. Through the first 90 minutes both teams took their shots, but neither could score, sending the game to overtime. In the first 15-minute OT period neither team could score until the Mounties (19-3-1) were able to break the scoreless tie and then add an insurance goal to post a 2-0 win. The victory advances Mt. SAC to the state championships, where they are serving as the host, while the Falcons end the season with a 14-6-3 record.
"This was a spectacular game and we had great chances to score at different times," said head coach Benny Artiaga. "I think the biggest play of the game was when we lost (sophomore defender) Oscar Enriquez with an injury, which left us without one of our most reliable players on the back row."
In the second 15-minute overtime, Armando Ochoa gave Mt. SAC a 1-0 lead on a counter play with Nestor Rodriguez and scored on a one-timer past a diving Falcon goalkeeper Benito Gonzalez. The Cerritos offense was forced to take chances after that, which left Aldo Magana alone after a poor clearing attempt and he went in and scored on a breakaway for an insurance goal five minutes later.
For a game that was scoreless for the first 108 minutes, it wasn't for lack of effort. A tight defensive match for the majority of the game, several high-profile scoring chances were had by both teams, while the Falcons missed out on a couple that could have put them on top early. In the 47th minute, Enriquez got off a shot as Mountie goalkeeper Adrian Topete came chasing out of the net. But the shot rolled wide, Gonzalez went up high to make a save on a corner kick minutes later and came up with a huge save.
Later in the second half, sophomore Daniel Garcia had a pair of chances to get on the scoreboard. In the 66th minute, he fanned on an open net on a cross-cage attempt and then in the 77th minute missed a chance with a cluster of players in the box going after a loose ball. On the day, Mt. SAC outshot the Falcons, 24-13.
Photo by Daryl Peterson
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