Tanaka Helps Men's Soccer End Winless Streak

Cesar Tanaka gets ready to drive in the game-winning goal here in PCC's 2-1 win over Long Beach at Robinson Stadium on Tuesday, photo by Richard Quinton.
Cesar Tanaka gets ready to drive in the game-winning goal here in PCC's 2-1 win over Long Beach at Robinson Stadium on Tuesday, photo by Richard Quinton.

Cesar Tanaka drove home the winning goal with eight minutes left as the Pasadena City College men's soccer team snapped a 7-game winless streak, defeating Long Beach City College, 2-1, Tuesday at Robinson Stadium. The game was a South Coast Conference crossover meeting.

The Lancers won for the first time since Sept. 23 and improved to 3-6-4 while handing the Vikings (9-2-2) just their second loss in 13 games. PCC was 0-4-3 in its previous seven games. Pasadena also snapped an 8-game winless streak v. LBCC teams dating back to 2012 (0-4-4). It was the first time, PCC won at home v. the Vikings in seven years (0-2-4 in previous six host encounters).

Tanaka, a freshman from Brazil, got a lead pass from Joshua Arevalo and fired a blast from the 23-yard line that found the left corner of the net for the go-ahead goal. It was Tanaka's accurate long-range kicking that resulted in PCC's first goal earlier in the second half. In the 54th minute, he took a free kick from the 35-yard line and placed it perfectly for Alexander Hernandez, who headed in the tying goal at that point. 

LBCC grabbed a 1-0 in the 25th minute when Adrian Martinez's sideline throw-in from the 30 took a long bounce and eluded PCC goalie Andrew Espinoza at it hopped just under the cross bar for a goal. 

PCC outshot Long Beach, 16-11, including 10 shots in the second half as it played easily its best game since its last win over Glendale (4-2). The Lancers had a number of high-level scoring chances. In the 19th minute, Kevin Deagueros took a free kick from the 12-yard line, but Vikings' goalie Andres Figueroa-Flores made a leaping tip for the save. In the 51st minute, Arevalo fired a shot from 10 yards out but was stoned by an acrobatic Figueroa-Flores. In the 66th minute, Hernandez had another header that this time hit the cross bar. And finally with four minutes left, Mark Barrientos took a close-range shot that again was knocked away by a leaping Figueroa-Flores.

The Lancers are 1-0-1 since Gerry Mora was named the acting head coach. Second-year head coach Henry Cabral has taken a leave of absence and will not return this season. Mora's staff remains the rest of the assistant coaches in Gor Kirakosyan, Francisco Cantero and Bruno Costa. Mora, Kirakosyan and Cantero each are playing alumni from past PCC soccer teams. Mora was a member of the 2009 Lancers. 

"We're going to use this win to carry the momentum forward toward Friday's game at Compton," Mora said. "We've been working hard on finishing during practices as we try to put some more goals on the scoreboard. We applied really strong pressure and created our opportunities v. Long Beach. Tanaka was not getting much playing time at the start of the season because we had a trio of strong forwards ahead of him, but injuries have hit us the last three weeks. Today, there was an opportunity that presented itself and Cesar decided to shoot and made great contact on his goal. He has adapted well with more minutes of playing time."

Despite the teams playing in 96-degree heat, Mora stuck with the same starting 11 for the game's first 64 minutes before finally making a substitution. Only two subs were used overall as defenders Hernandez, Joey Knowles, Christopher Munoz, midfielders Arevalo and Marlon Flores, and forwards Tanaka and Deagueros played all 90 minutes. Defender Bryce Watson played the first 83 minutes before being given a red card only moments after a red card was handed out to Long Beach's Daniel Camacho. Watson was a force all over the field for the Lancers before the unfortunate ejection.

On October 13 in a conference crossover at Robinson Stadium, PCC and El Camino were scoreless until the teams combined for four goals in a span of 20 minutes late in the second half as it ended in a 2-2 tie. Watson scored both of the Lancers' goal including the tying score with 12 minutes left on a blast into the upper corner from the 15-yard line. He gave PCC a 1-0 lead in the 58th minute when he chipped a lead pass from Arevalo from inside the box into the net. Espinoza made six saves, the same as his performance against Long Beach.

PCC plays at Compton on Friday, Oct. 20 in a 4 p.m. kickoff.