M. Soccer: Offense lights up scoreboard in shutout win

Oscar Canela scored twice and assisted on another goal in the Falcons win
Oscar Canela scored twice and assisted on another goal in the Falcons win

After playing in their fourth scoreless draw of the season four days ago, the Cerritos College men's soccer team needed less than four minutes to get on the scoreboard against visiting Los Angeles Harbor College on Tuesday. The Falcons (15-0-4, 5-0-1), ranked #1 in the nation by United Soccer Coaches in Division III (non-scholarship), scored five times in the first half, as they went on to post a 6-0 win over the Seahawks in a South Coast Conference South Division game.

The final two regular season games will come against rival Long Beach City College, who is the only team in position to take the division championship away from the Falcons. They will play at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday in Long Beach, and then again at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at Cerritos, which was rescheduled from October 10 due to poor air quality from a local fire. The Vikings (11-4-4, 3-1-2) need to win both games to dethrone the defending division champion Falcons.

In the win over LA Harbor (2-13-5, 1-5-1), freshman Carlos Payeras (Lennox Academy HS) opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he drew the ball to the left side of the 18-yard box and then lofted a pass to sophomore Oscar Canela (Paramount HS), who was able to head the ball in for a gall after goalkeeper Rodrigo Piteau had the ball deflect off his hands and into the net. Canela would play a role in the team's goal six minutes later when his crossing pass in front of the net was cleanly misdirected into the goal by sophomore Luis Garcia (La Habra HS).

The offensive onslaught continued for the Falcons, as they would get on the board three more times before intermission. Garcia scored his second consecutive goal of the game, as he finished a play with a one-timer after sophomore Marc Calderon (Elizabeth Learning Center HS) worked the ball through the LA Harbor defense and placed the ball perfectly. In the 30th minute, freshman Christian Perez (Paramount HS) used his great vision of the field to send a precise heel pass to sophomore Adrian Becerra (Morningside HS), whose shot across the goal crease found the net past a diving Piteau.

Only on the field for less than two minutes, sophomore Kevin Martinez (Pioneer HS) handled the defensive pressure well deep in LA Harbor territory and crossed a pass to Perez who squared his shoulders and laced a shot into the upper corner of the goal for the team's fifth tally of the half.

Canela, Garcia, Calderon, Becerra and Perez all played exceptionally, which gave Cerritos their many scoring chances in the first half. In addition to the five goals scored, Canela also hit the crossbar in the 18th minute, while Perez saw his bouncing shot go over the crossbar in the 42nd minute.

In the second half, Canela closed out the scoring when his shot bounced off Piteau's hands for a goal in the 84th minute, with Payeras collecting his second assist of the day. Along with their strong offensive play by the Falcons, sophomore midfielder Guy Carven (National Haitian Student Alliance) did a great job of preventing the Seahawks from getting any scoring chances, as he controlled almost every loose ball, which jump-started the team's offense. Sophomore goalkeeper Hernan Perez (Pioneer HS) improved to 5-0-0 on the season with his two-save shutout.

Photos by Daryl Peterson