WHITTIER, CA — The East Los Angeles College men's soccer team rebounded from a loss to Mt. SAC on Friday with a 2-1 win at Rio Hondo College today in South Coast Conference play.
With the win, ELAC took over sole possession of the SCC and an hour later jumped to No. 16-ranked in the state from No. 24 while Rio Hondo fell from No. 18 to No. 22.
More importantly, ELAC jumped to No. 7 in the Southern California Power Rankings. Fifteen teams from the South get Southern California Regional Bracket playoff bids based on Power Rankings.
With three games remaining in the regular season, ELAC improves to 9-4-5 overall and 3-2-1 in the SCC, a game in front of third place Chaffey College (8-6-4, 2-2-2). Rio Hondo (9-5-5, 2-3-1) fell to fourth.
The Huskies were down a man (time not reported) after freshman midfielder Edy Martinez (Animo Jackie Robinson High School) received a red card in the first half.
ELAC sophomore forward Valentin Mercado (Animo Ralph Bunche HS) scored a brace, the first goal in the 13th minute, assisted by Edward Alex Robles (Wallis Annenberg HS) and the other in the 75th minute with an assist from Jerson Maravilla (Fremont HS). Rio Hondo scored in the 65th minute from a Joseph Fuentes goal (assist Moses Gutierrez).
Mercado has scored nine goals this season and scored all of ELAC’s goals in two wins against Rio Hondo, including a 1-0 victory over the Roadrunners in the first half of SCC play.
“We wanted to put pressure from the start to force mistakes and quickly counter from them, and it worked,” said ELAC Assistant Coach David Garcia. “Our tempo, our passing, and our composure was there and we were able to dominate most of the match.”
ELAC took 11 shots, six (three each) from Robles and Maravilla. Five Huskies took one shot each, Mercado, Martinez, sophomore forward Andy Benitez (Bell HS), freshman forward Salvador Alvarez (Locke HS) and freshman midfielder Edwin Vasquez (Jefferson HS).
Rio Hondo took more shots on goal, 8-6. ELAC sophomore goalkeeper Joshua Moreno (Montebello HS) had seven saves.
The Huskies lost to Mt. SAC last Friday.
ELAC dominated the first 22 minutes with quick counterattacks, quick pressure and forced Mt. SAC mistakes to get early chances. During this time, ELAC outshot Mt. SAC 3-0. The Husky shots were from freshman forward Kevin Rodriguez (Hawkins HS) in the 7th minute, and Alvarez in the 17th and also the 22nd minute.
Also in the first 22 minutes, the Huskies took two shots on goal to Mt. SAC’s one. The first ELAC shot on goal was from Robles in the 10th minute and the other was from Maravilla in the 20th minute.
Mt. SAC scored in the 27th minute from Jose Santoyo (assist Sam Ponting). The teams battled for two shots on goals each for the remainder of the half. ELAC’s were from a Mercado header in the 30th minute and from Robles’ free kick in the 43rd minute.
Santoyo scored two second half goals for Mt. SAC in the 53rd minute and again in the 65th minute.
“It was a pretty evenly matched game. We had our (chances) equally, especially the first half,” said Garcia. “We dominated the first 22 minutes.”
“After (Mt. SAC) got their first goal of the second half, we struggled to stay composed mentally,” said Garcia. “Then from there, Mt. SAC managed the tempo pretty well.”
In the second half Mt. SAC doubled ELAC’s shot output and had more shots on goals, but Moreno saved six of Mt. SAC’s shots on goal.
The Huskies moved on from the loss and dominated the road game at Rio Hondo.
“Our guys showed great character and unity in the Rio Hondo game and we are happy with the well-deserved win,” said Garcia. “Now we focus on PCC.”
The Huskies host Pasadena City College (4-9-4, 0-4-1) on Friday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m.
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index and ELAC Huskies Athletics on Facebook.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia