Frustration looms, men’s soccer looks ahead


Conference ended with the Cerritos men’s soccer team in second place. Now, the Falcons will focus on the Southern Regional playoff matches starting Tuesday, Nov. 25. Photo credit: Sebastian Echeverry

Sebastian Echeverry, Contributor

Frustration and confusion flowed through the veins of the men’s soccer team on Friday, Nov. 14, as the lead it acquired against El Camino College was vanquished with a goal in the last minutes of the game.

The final score ended in a draw with two goals equally shared.

This tie ended the Falcons’ campaign in conference and left them in second place.

Head coach Benny Artiaga feels like second place still has a lot to offer in the conference.

“Our guys were in the rights to be conference champs,” Artiaga said. “But, you know what? We are going to use that as motivation, too.”

According to Artiaga, a highly questionable play was unseen by match officials and that led to the goal in the last two minutes of the game.

“We missed about five or six clear scoring opportunities to put (the team) away,” Artiaga said. “And our inability to do so left the game within one mistake of the referee.”

The tie does not vanquish the men’s soccer tactics, as Artiaga sees light where others see darkness.

“It is what it is. We still finish(ed) as the No. 2 seed in California so there is a lot there to be proud of,” he said. “No matter what, this season went through ups and downs, but we still had a very important run.”

Artiaga and company had a break this past week to access the competition and his own players.

He believes that his players’ ability to rest their bodies and pick at their wounds, picked up during the struggle of conference gameplay, puts them in a good position.

Forward Christian Carrillo was voted the conference offensive player of the year with nine goals and eight assists.

“It was very disappointing to not get the win,” Carrillo said. “With the fairly difficult season that we had, we definitely felt that we deserved first.”

Carrillo said that conference is long gone now and what is in sights for the Falcons are playoffs.

“Personally, I’m just trying to do my best and bring back the title,” he said. “If there [are] any accolades or awards I will get, that doesn’t really compare to how badly I want to win the state title for Cerritos.”

During the heat of the game, right behind the target man Carrillo, is midfielder Jose Ochoa.

Ochoa usually spent his minutes on the pitch converting defensive plays into deadly strikes and he believes that style of play does not have to change much in order to do damage in the playoffs.

“We just have to play as hard as we’ve been playing lately,” he said. “Play like it was our last one and just leave everything on the field.”

The Falcons play their first Southern Regional playoffs match on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 2 p.m. at home.