When the latest national ranking was released earlier in the day, and the Cerritos College men's soccer team saw that they had moved to #1, the target on their head got much larger. The Falcons, who entered the day winners of eight games in a row, were taking on crosstown rival Long Beach City College, who is having one of their better seasons in recent years. By the final whistle, the two teams had played to a 1-1 draw, which also keeps Cerritos (8-1-2, 3-0-1) in first place in the South Coast Conference South Division. The Vikings (7-2-2, 2-0-2) remain two points behind. It doesn't get any easier for the Falcons, who will now travel to face another rival, Mt. San Antonio College, in a 6:00 p.m. conference crossover game on Friday.
At the outset of the game, it looked like Cerritos would continue to extend their winning streak. It took them only 9:30 to take a 1-0 lead, as freshman Oscar Penate (Connections Academy HS) took control of the ball just inside the LBCC territory and fed a pass to freshman Kevin Diaz (Connections Academy HS). Once he controlled the ball, Diaz was able to get off a low shot that found the far corner of the goal past goalkeeper Mario DeLaTorre.
About 30 second later, sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Aldama (North Torrance HS) came up with a point blank save on a shot from Oskar Raymundo, who worked inside the 18-yard box to get off a hard, right-footed shot. Aldama, who recorded six saves on the day, stayed low and swallowed up the low, hard shot.
Both teams took turns putting pressure on each other's defense, only to be turned away. It was in the 68th minute when the Vikings were able to get on the board, as Carlos Maldonado spotted Aldama coming out of the net to cut off the angle. Striking at the right time, Maldonado sent a low shot past Aldama, who was unable to get down fast enough to turn away the shot.
As time started ticking away, the intensity of the game picked up, with the Falcons getting the better looks. They had several chances to score the game-winning goal, with Diaz missing a pair of chances, as well as Penate, who saw DeLaTorre make a diving save in the 89th minute. On what turned out to be the final play of the game, Diaz worked the ball down the left goal line, where he got a pass off to freshman Bryan Villalobos (Salesian HS). Standing in front of the goal, Villalobos was unable to put the ball away.
Photos by Daryl Peterson
January 2, 2019 M. Soccer: Defender Javier Cortez signs with four-year school
December 19, 2018 M. Soccer: Pair of Falcons sign with UC Riverside
December 7, 2018 M. Soccer: National awards come the Falcons way
December 4, 2018 M. Soccer: Esteban Camacho signs with Cal State Northridge
December 4, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos earns first National Championship
November 30, 2018 M. Soccer: Semifinal win sends Falcons to the championships
November 26, 2018 M. Soccer: State tournament-bound Falcons pick up conference awards
November 24, 2018 M. Soccer: Victory sends Falcons to state Final Four
November 20, 2018 M. Soccer: Overtime playoff win advances Falcons to next round
November 17, 2018 M. Soccer: Rejuvenated Falcons post playoff win
November 13, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons seeded #1 for the playoffs
November 9, 2018 M. Soccer: Win concludes regular season for conference champs
November 6, 2018 M. Soccer: Ninth win in a row spurned on by second half effort
November 2, 2018 M. Soccer: First half goals enough in 2-0 win
October 30, 2018 M. Soccer: Late goal gives Falcons 4-3 win
October 26, 2018 M. Soccer: Offensive output continues in 6-1 win
October 23, 2018 M. Soccer: Second half offensive explosion leads to 8-1 win
October 19, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos shows they can score from any position
October 16, 2018 M. Soccer: Last-second goal propels Falcons to 3-2 win
October 12, 2018 M. Soccer: Nation's top ranked team shuts out Mt. SAC
October 9, 2018 M. Soccer: Draw keeps the Falcons unbeaten in the division
October 5, 2018 M. Soccer: Win sets up first place showdown
September 28, 2018 M. Soccer: Second half goal leads Falcons to conference win
September 25, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons open conference play with 4-2 win
September 21, 2018 M. Soccer: Slow start for Falcons in 3-1 win over Allan Hancock
September 18, 2018 M. Soccer: Rematch of state semifinal game goes the Falcons way
September 14, 2018 M. Soccer: Road win sets up rematch of state semifinal game
September 7, 2018 M. Soccer: Best scoring chance turns into lone goal
September 2, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos puts six on the board in win
August 31, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons draw with defending state champ
August 28, 2018 M. Soccer: Unbeaten streak snapped with 2-1 loss