Men's Soccer Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive With Upset Of Chaffey

Lancer David Vasquez-Mena (9) fights for the ball in a recent game.
Lancer David Vasquez-Mena (9) fights for the ball in a recent game.

Going into the final few weeks of South Coast Conference play, the Pasadena City College men's soccer team has a narrow margin of error to try to grab a postseason playoff berth. The Lancers went in the right direction Friday when they knocked off Chaffey, 2-1, in a North Division game at Robinson Stadium.

The Lancers moved up to No. 17 in the all-important SoCal Region Power Points standings while Chaffey dipped to No. 14 (only 14 teams advance to the regional playoffs). PCC improved to 6-7-2 overall and 2-3 in the division. Chaffey fell to 8-7-2 and 2-3. 

What is going in PCC's favor is the team has games remaining against #2-rated Mt. San Antonio at home, and road contests v. #7 Rio Hondo, #13 El Camino (SCC crossover, non-conference) and #18 Irvine Valley (non-conference). Road wins and ties weigh more in power points. Earlier this year, PCC earned an important road tie against current state #5 and North #3 Taft. 

Pasadena avenged a first round conference loss to Chaffey by keeping offensive pressure on the Panthers defense. Just 37 seconds into the game, PCC appeared to score on a combo play with Anthony Jimenenz putting in the goal, but offside was called on the Lancers nullifying the tally. Less than two minutes later, Romio Sislian sent Alexis Guzman into the box with a nifty lead pass and Guzman netted his third goal of the season. 

Chaffey answered in the 25th minute as Sebastian Rivera-Marin sent a long ball as speedy Oscar Casillas-Palomar not only raced for the ball but was able to reach and 1-time a shot past an on-rushing PCC goalie Steven Sandoval. Sandoval met Casillas-Palomar a split-second too late as the shot from the top of the box found the far corner of the net to tie it 1-1.

In the 54th minute, PCC's Santana Nunez threaded the Chaffey defense with a center lead pass to David Vasquez-Mena as the sophomore deked around Chaffey goalie Alex Fonseca to knock in his fifth goal and the game-winner. 

While neither goalie had spectacular saves, Chaffey nearly tied it in the 57th minute when Sandoval tipped a hard shot by Henry Salcedo that clipped the crossbar. Fonseca stoned Edwin DeJesus in stoppage time on a blast from inside the box. Earlier, Jimenez had several scoring opportunities but missed high on a few free kicks. Both Sandoval and Fonseca finished with seven saves a piece.

Coach Gerry Mora's Lancers next play at East Los Angeles in a conference match at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30. ELAC is a low regional #30 in power points, but gave PCC a difficult time in the first round as the Lancers had to rally late for a 3-2 win. 

Pasadena has played well on the narrow Robinson Stadium home field with now a 3-1-1 record in games on the surface.