Almary, Rodriguez Key Men's Soccer Comeback, 5-3, Over Chaffey

Yader Rodriguez returns as a leading scorer for the 2017 PCC men's soccer team.
Yader Rodriguez returns as a leading scorer for the 2017 PCC men's soccer team.

The Pasadena City College men's soccer team rose to No. 12 in the most recent CCCSCA State Top 15 Rankings, but knew facing No. 13 Chaffey would be a major test in the South Coast Conference North Division standings. Last year, Chaffey was the SoCal region's top team in the regular season and the Panthers joined the powerful SCC this season.

The Lancers fell behind early 2-0, but Artin Almary scored consecutive goals in a 3-minute span as PCC tied Chaffey by halftime, 3-3. Yader Rodriguez would make a great individual play, dribbling past defenders and the goalie to knock in the game-winner in the 57th minute as Pasadena solidified its new ranking with a 5-3 victory.

PCC improved to 4-2-2 overall, wrapping a very tough 3-game stretch over four days. On Tuesday, the Lancers saw an 8-game undefeated streak going back to last season stopped by state No. 1 Mt. San Antonio, 5-1, in the SCC opener. Rodriguez scored the team's lone goal. On Thursday, PCC played at the defending state champions in Oxnard and lost a close one to the Condors, 2-1. The Lancers held a 1-0 lead on a goal by Sarmeen Ibrahim in the 52nd minute. But Oxnard tied it on Francisco Arroyo's goal iin the 61st minute. Then Arroyo scored again with five minutes left to hand the Lancers a second straight defeat.

Against Chaffey, things didn't look good as the Panthers jumped ahead quickly 2-0. But in the 17th minute, Almary was fouled in the box and it resulted in a penalty shot and goal to cut it to 2-1. A few minutes later, Almary headed in a corner kick by Manuel Chavez to tie it. In the 31st minute, Josue Bustos made a brilliant bicycle kick in the box for a goal and a 3-2 Chaffey advantage. In the 41st minute, Rodriguez would send a cross to Avo Haroutunyan for a one-time drive that capped a wild first half at 3-3.

After Rodriguez gave the Lancers a 4-3 lead, PCC would get an insurance goal when Jesus Garcia bombed a free kick from the Pasadena 20-yard line. Ibrahim received the long pass, stayed onside, and then rifled a shot for the score. 

PCC starting goalie Kristopher Guerra made a huge save in the 66th minute on a header attempt. But the defensive play of the game was turned in by Guillermo Zetina, who managed to kick out what looked like a sure Chaffey score at the goal-line late in the contest.

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Lancers return to action with a division game at Rio Hondo College. Game time is 6 p.m. 

[Photo--Yader Rodriguez scored the game-winning goal in PCC's win over Chaffey Friday at Robinson Stadium, image by Richard Quinton.]