With time running out in their South Coast Conference crossover game on Tuesday, the Cerritos College men's soccer team saved their best for last. Two minutes into extra time, sophomore Esteban Camacho (Mayfair HS) was able to score right before the final whistle to lead the Falcons (10-1-2) to a 3-2 win over host Chaffey College. The nation's top-ranked team will now return home to take on Pasadena City College at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Cerritos will play five of their final seven regular season games at home.
On the play, sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Aldama (North Torrance HS) sent a set piece into the air, where freshman Bryan Ortega (Cesar Chavez HS) trapped the ball, but then lost control. However, freshman Eugene Martinez (Delille Academy, Belize) was there to poke the ball loose to Camacho, who did a reverse heel pass into the goal. Once the ball went into the net, the referee blew his whistle, ending the game. Aldama, who has played every minute in goal for the Falcons, recorded eight saves.
"It was one of those weird games that's tough to read," said head coach Benny Artiaga. "We took the lead three times, and thankfully we scored on the last play of the game, so there was no time for them to make one last push. A lot of credit to Chaffey, who are a well-coached team and gave us all we could handle."
Cerritos took their first lead of the game in the 10th minute when sophomore Erick Gallinar (Connections Academy HS/UC Irvine) drove a set piece to freshman Ernesto Cueva (Bassett HS), who flicked the ball just enough to get past the keeper and into the net. With the match tied, 1-1 in the second half, the Falcons once again went in front. On another set piece, Gallinar sent the ball into the box to Martinez, who headed the ball to the keeper. After blocking the shot, the ball got away, where Camacho was there to put the ball away for his first of two goals on the day.
After the Panthers tied the game in the 82nd minute, it set the stage for Camacho's heroics and extended the team's unbeaten streak to 12 games (10-0-2).
"We scored on three set pieces, so I guess that's a huge plus, since our last four goals have been on set pieces," added Artiaga. "We're not generally a team that wins many games that way. I told the guys (after the game) to hurry up, get your stuff and lets get out of here before they change their mind or the referee decides to add more time. We'll take the win any way it comes. We have a resilient group and there is never much doubt or panic during the course of a game."