M. Soccer: Nation's top ranked team shuts out Mt. SAC

File Photo: GK Jordan Aldama and the Falcon defense shut out Mt. SAC, 1-0
File Photo: GK Jordan Aldama and the Falcon defense shut out Mt. SAC, 1-0

In one of the most heated rivalries in all of community college sports, the Cerritos College men's soccer team recorded a physical 1-0 win over host Mt. San Antonio College on Friday. The two teams are both national powers year after year, with the Falcons (9-1-2) currently holding the #1 position this season, while the Mounties (9-3-2) entered the week ranked #5 in the country. The Falcons will play another South Coast Conference crossover match on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. at Chaffey College.

The win was the second straight 1-0 shutout win over Mt. SAC for Cerritos, while the Mounties won the previous two games by the same score. The two wins over the past two seasons might be turning around a trend that had seen Mt SAC post a 13-2-4 record against the Falcons through the 2016 season. During that stretch, seven of those 13 losses were by one goal, with three of them coming in the 3rd Round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

One of the main keys to the Falcons maintaining a clean scoresheet in their last two games against the Mounties has been the play of sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Aldama (North Torrance HS). In last year's win, he recorded five saves, while he stepped up his game on Friday with nine saves, with several of them high percentage shots. Aldama was also aided by the solid defensive play of sophomores Luis Lira (La Puente HS) and Esteban Camacho (Mayfair HS), with freshmen Eugene Martinez (Delille Academy, Belize) and Ernesto Cueva (Bassett HS) helping Aldama and Cerritos record their fifth shutout this season by a 1-0 score.

The game's lone goal came in the 17th minute, which helped Cerritos build their confidence throughout the match. The goal came off a corner kick designed play, as sophomore Erick Gallinar (Connections Academy/UC Irvine) drove the ball hard toward freshman Kevin Diaz (Connections Academy HS), who was near the top of the box. Diaz then made it look like he was going to take a shot, but let the ball go past him, where Cueva was in position to head the ball past Mounties goalkeeper John Samano for his first goal of the season.

The physical game also featured five yellow cards, which has become standard for a game between the two teams. In last year's meeting, eight yellow cards were shown and 43 fouls were called.