The No. 7-seeded Pasadena City College men's soccer team broke through on Artin Almary's penalty kick goal with 10 minutes left in the second overtime as the Lancers outlasted No. 10 Chaffey, 1-0, Saturday in Round 1 of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.
Pasadena (11-4-6) played the playoff at Azusa Pacific University and engaged in a tension-filled, physical battle with South Coast Conference North Division rival Chaffey (9-8-5). The Lancers defeated the Panthers for the third time this season and second by a 1-0 score this month.
After a foul was called on Chaffey's goalie Jafet Chaves, Almary, a sophomore forward, calmly did on one shot what no one had done in the previous 110 minutes--score. Almary drilled a low PK attempt into the left corner by Chaves to the delight of the PCC team bench and fans.
The Lancers though had several players that were key figures in the victory, maybe none more than first-year defender Joshua Moran. The freshman was one of only a handful of PCC players who played the entire 120 minutes as he continually broke up Chaffey offensive plays all day. Frosh defender Jesus Garcia came up big, especially in overtime as he blocked a shot inside the box and then broke up a scoring chance, both plays coming with three minutes left in regulation play.
Freshman goalie Kristopher Guerra made eight saves overall, and was brilliant when his team needed him most. In the 58th minute, Johnathan Umuna ripped a shot headed for the upper left corner but Guerra soared to his right and tipped it away. In the 96th minute, Umuna broke free in front of Guerra, and the netminder stoned him from eight yards away.
Although PCC outshot Chaffey, 18-17, the better scoring chances were made by the Panthers. Umana had the best opportunity on a breakaway but his attempt to the left corner just skipped wide in the 51st minute.
"It was a very hard game for us, but we persevered," said PCC first-year head coach Henry Cabral. "We didn't play our best on offense, we were not connecting on passes. But we were solid defensively and Kris came up with giant saves. We believed in ourselves and now we earned a trip to the quarterfinals."
The Lancers will now travel to face No. 2 seed Golden West, still undefeated this season at 15-0-7, after a 2-1 win over No. 15 Cerritos on Saturday. The playoff quarterfinal begins at 2 p.m.
PCC Soccer Notes: The Lancers improved to 8-7 in playoff games and won for the first time since 2008, also an overtime victory when they beat LA Harbor, 4-2, at East Los Angeles College. PCC is 3-1 in postseason OT contests...PCC is 1-1-1 in its history against Golden West and last faced each other in 2010, playing to a season-opening 0-0 tie...Two PCC players, starter Diego Rodriguez and Sarmeen Ibrahim were lettermen who also participated in the 2013 playoff loss to Oxnard (played at APU)...Guerra has four shutouts, three in November and lowered his goals against average to 1.36...Almary scored his sixth goal of the season, his fourth time on a penalty kick.
[Photo--Lancer Satchel Robinson comes in on a breakaway in overtime Saturday, image by Mike Watkins.]