Rival game ends in draw for men’s soccer


Sebastian Echeverry

Forward Mark Cruz zips past the man marking him. The game ended 1-1, however, head coach Benny Artiaga was “excited” with the tie, knowing that his team is still in the lead. Photo credit: Sebastian Echeverry

Sebastian Echeverry

“Let them cross! Let them cross!” Men’s soccer head coach Benny Artiaga commanded his players to let the Mt. San Antonio Mounties cross the ball into his team’s penalty box in order for his defenders to meet the opposing team in the open, confident that the team could hold off the attack.

Artiaga’s strategy paid off as the team didn’t win its match against Mt. SAC, but pulled out a 1-1 tie and with the one point still held top of the conference table.

“Very rarely you’re going to find me excited after a tie,” he said.

Due to the fact that the tie still allows Cerritos to be at the top of the conference table, there is good reason for Artiaga to smile at the 1-1 score sheet.

As he mentioned, the game on Tuesday, Oct. 6 was a rematch of the state final.

Acknowledging the history between the two teams, put the match at a level of intense rivalry, early on in the season.

The game started off with a speedy tempo.

Passing was forceful on the ground and names were yelled all across the playing field trying to be the next player to receive the ball.

Mountie wingers attacked up the left and right-hand flanks, pulling Falcon full-back defenders to stop the surmounting attack and cut off the supply line from the wingers to the forwards waiting in the penalty box.

However, Artiaga told his players to let the Mounties cross all they want, he believed they could not connect 30-yard-long passes and instead wanted his players to cover the goal mouth, a cone-shaped section in front of the net where shots mostly find their target.

This strategy, however, went against the instincts of the defenders.

But the players held their ground and repelled the attacks booting the ball upfield.

Left-back Austin DeMedeiros said, “It was going against instinct because we want to end out with the ball, but going with Mt. SAC, [it’s] a very technical school, but [the team] is not prepared to send 30-yard crosses into the box because the way [its] formation is it doesn’t have that many strikers.”

The first goal, like the one to come after, came off a set piece free kick.

The Falcons committed a foul just yards outside the goalie’s box, the referee pointing for a free kick in favor of the Mounties.

Instead of going for placement, the Mounties rifled the shot low and hard, deflecting off a player’s leg and zooming past the keeper and toward the back of the net.

The score now reading 1-0.

Multiple times, the Falcons tried to respond to the 1-0 losing score with shots pinging off the woodwork and flying over the crossbar.

The goal came when a shot was blocked off the keeper for the Mounties, ending in a corner kick for the Falcons.

DeMedeiros was unmarked and connected with the ball off the header and scored one back for Cerritos College.

The game ended at 1-1.

Artiaga said, “Whenever you play Mt. SAC, you really have to test yourself.”

With the tie, the team manages to cling on to the title of leading conference thus far.