In the South Coast Conference, every men's soccer game is a battle, and Friday it was no diffferent in the North Division contest between host Pasadena City College and East Los Angeles. PCC overcame a 1-0 deficit and Jayden Norman knocked in the game-winning goal with just 82 seconds left as the Lancers downed the Huskies, 2-1.
Norman was simply "Johnny on the spot" when Artin Almary sent a cross from the far corner that left an elusive Norman by himself at the goal-line as he netted the winner. In the 69th minute, the Lancers tied it when top defender Jesus Garcia drove in a rebound attempt into the upper corner after Diego Rodriguez's first shot was blocked.
The Lancers improved to 5-2-3 overall and now 2-1-1 as they completed the first round of conference play. ELAC is 1-6-4 and 0-3. The Huskies held on to a 1-0 lead after Javier Gutierrez ripped in a 30-yard blast just 36 seconds into the game.
PCC head coach Henry Cabral made some key substitutions that contributed to the win including inserting his second goalie Kristopher Guerra for starter Yusuf Elmasri in the 59th minute. While Elmasri has played well all season and had five saves to that point, the move proved to spark the team. With 10 minutes left and a free kick for the Huskies at the 10-yard line, Guerra kept the game a tie with a brilliant stop on a blast by Gutierrez. Guerra finished with five saves.
ELAC goalie Ivan Barranco also made many big stops, including stuffing Manuel Chavez on a breakaway in the 81st minute. In the 75th minute, Chavez almost scored on a corner kick that curved toward the goal but Barranco leaped and tipped away the attempt. Barranco made seven saves overall.
The Huskies outshot PCC, 18-14, and pressed the Lancers for much of the match. Pasadena's biggest surge was over the final 25 minutes and it produced the two goals.
"East LA really played well and we found ourselves in a tough spot on our home field," Cabral said. "We recovered and we seemed to create more chances later in the game. It's a big win in that these are the type of matches that can result in hard-luck ties and in the past led to some late losses for our program. We have to win at Robinson Stadium. It's a narrow field and we need to establish our home advantage."
So far, PCC is 2-0 at the home field and a respectable 3-2-3 on the road. PCC travels to face state No. 7-ranked Taft on Thursday, Oct. 13 in a non-conference game.
[Photo--Lancer sophomore Artin Almary slides to keep an ELAC player at bay during PCC's win Friday, image by Richard Quinton.]