Men's Soccer Shocks State #2 Cerritos, 4-2

Martin Manzanilla in action during a recent Lancers game.
Martin Manzanilla in action during a recent Lancers game.

The Pasadena City College men's soccer team took down state #2-ranked Cerritos College and ended the Falcons' 40-game undefeated streak (35-0-5) in a 4-2, South Coast Conference victory Friday at Robinson Stadium.

The Lancers (8-8-2 overall, 2-4-1 in SCC play) led 1-0, 2-1 and then took their final lead of the game in the 68th minute when Mario Urbina got underneath the Cerritos defense and circled around netminder Luis Enciso deep in the box for his sixth goal of the year. Leading 3-2, PCC picked up an insurance goal on Ernesto Angulo's rebound kick after Urbina's corner kick was punched away by Enciso. It was a big performance from Urbina, who picked up two assists and was a part of three of the team's goals.

In the seventh minute, the Lancers grabbed the scoreboard advantage when Martin Manzanilla ripped a blast into the upper net from the 8-yard line after taking a pass from Urbina. A minute later, Cerritos tied it on a header goal by Ernie Cueva. PCC then got one of biggest gifts a team can get when Cerritos starting goalie Jose Azpeitia reared back his right arm to deliver a send out. Instead, the goaltender lost the grip of the ball as it went backward into the Falcons goal. The own goal gave the Lancers a 2-1 lead in the 18th minute. After the Falcons tied it at 2-2, PCC thought it had taken a 3-2 lead in the 34th minute on a header by Andres Velasquez off a free kick set pass. The side official called Pasadena for offside, nullyfing the score as the teams were tied at the half.

PCC received a strong goalie performance from Steven Sandoval, who made seven saves overall. In the 71st minute, he stopped Kevin Diaz on a breakaway attempt. In the 84th minute, Sandoval made a brilliant, point-blank block on a shot inside the box by Bryan Ortega. 

The Lancers defenders came up big with stellar play by Mauricio Rodriguez, Jared Hernandez (including a superb slide tackle on another Diaz breakaway), and captain Edson Pulido. Pasadena's Favian Esparza used his long-range kicking to keep Cerritos pinned in its own zone on a few PCC scoring opportunities. Esparza also clanked the post on a kickoff following the second Cerritos goal. 

"We started with high pressure and high intensity," said PCC head coach Gerry Mora. "Really proud of our freshmen stepping up in such a huge game. Mario, Ernesto and Martin all came up with big contributions. We were able to take care of business at home against obviously one of the best teams in the state. The game had some high emotions from both sides which I think really kept us focused too. We were not going to lay down just because Cerritos had come back twice to tie it."

The Falcons (13-1-3, now 4-1-2 in SCC games) had not lost since the 2018 season opener. PCC was 0-3 and outscored 15-1 by Cerritos in the three previous meetings between the schools. It was the first Pasadena home win v. Cerritos in seven years (0-3-1 in previous four matches at Robinson Stadium). 

PCC's win clinched a spot in the 8-team, SCC Championship Tournament. The Lancers will play one more conference game before the tourney at Rio Hondo College on Tuesday, Nov. 5 in a 6 p.m. evening contest.