The Pasadena City College men's soccer team can only think about what might have been in the 2018 season. As has been the case against good to great opponents, the Lancers held leads going into the final minutes only to see them turn into ties and defeats.
Against the region's No. 2-rated team and state No. 5 Mt. San Antonio College on Friday, the Lancers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a surprising 3-2 lead. The power points gained by beating a high-ranked team are enormous in this sport. But as has happened a few other times, PCC couldn't get the final whistle blown by the head referee fast enough.
In stoppage time after the regulation 90 minutes played, Mt. SAC scored on a Giovanny Garcia goal that earned the South Coast Conference North Division first-place Mounties a 3-3 tie. The late goal allowed has been a familiar theme for the Lancers, who will not make the postseason with a 6-8-4 record and 2-3-2 mark in conference.
State No. 4-rated Taft also scored in stoppage time v. PCC in a 1-1 tie on Sept. 14. On October 5, PCC blew a 3-1 lead against state No. 16 Rio Hondo (#8 in SoCal) as the Roadrunners scored two goals in the final 12 minutes to beat the Lancers, 4-3. On October 23, Pasadena led 3-0 and then 4-1 against unranked LA Harbor, but a goal in the 89th minute stole another victory away from the Lancers in a 4-4 tie.
Had PCC held on in all four of the games, the team would be 10-7-1 and a strong 4-2-1 in the SCC North. There is no doubt the team would be sitting among the top 14 in the region in power points and participating in the postseason.
Against Mt. SAC, Lancers defender Bryce Watson had a spectacular game scoring a goal and dishing out two assists. Watson broke a Mt. SAC streak of shutting out opponents over the previous 565 minutes when his free kick from the 17-yard line hit the back of the net in the 43rd minute. Just before halftime, the Lancers struck again as a Watson throw-in was redirected by David Vasquez-Mena toward the net allowing Ben Vigil to head in the tying goal at that point, 2-2.
In the 65th minute, Pasadena took a 3-2 lead as Watson's cross in the box was perfectly footed in by an on-rushing Vasquez-Mena. PCC had numerous chances to increase the lead, including twice on Watson shots inside the goalie box. Mt. SAC went on to score the tying goal and improve to 14-3-3 and 4-0-2 in the SCC North.
Despite the tie, PCC proved to be very hard to play against at Robinson Stadium this season, finishing with a sparkling 3-1-2 mark in home games.
On Halloween day, the Lancers were routed by Irvine Valley, 5-0. Also earlier this week on October 30, PCC used a goal by Alexis Guzman in the 36th minute to earn a 1-1 tie at East Los Angeles College.
Coach Gerry Mora's Lancers next play at Rio Hondo on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in a 6 p.m. conference finale match. They play at El Camino in a SCC crossver on Friday, Nov. 9 (3 p.m.) to close out the season.