MONTEREY PARK - East LA Men's Soccer head coach Eddie Flores knows his young team has long way to progress this season. After dropping their first game of the season, and then giving up a two-goal lead in their previous game en route to a tie, part of the road to progress is his freshmen learning how to compete on the collegiate level.
They took a big step in the right direction today: Defender Joaquin Toledo scored a goal off a pass from fellow defender Russo Hernandez in the 80th minute to ultimately score the game winning goal, giving ELAC a 2-1 win over the Rio Hondo College Roadrunners.
(All photos by La Anh San Nham)
The Huskies scored first in this one: Forward Bryant Guerrero booted a shot past Rio GK Arturo Bustamante Jr off a nice pass from Midfielder Alirio Alvarado in the 28th minute. It looked like East would take their 1-0 lead into the lockers at half, but offensive pressure in front of the Huskies' net lured ELAC GK Milton Salazar out of position. The ball found Rio F Adan Villareal via a riccochet pass from M Charlie Rosales, and with Salazar momentarily out of the way, Villareal's strike found the back of an unguarded net to tie the game with a shade over a minute left in the half.
The teams played pretty even in the second half, until Toledo's shot whipped past Bustamante gave the Huskies the 2-1 edge. The Roadrunners then took final six-plus minutes keeping the Huskies on their heels, perhaps due to ELAC's youth and inexperience. "We should've defended with 10," remarked Coach Flores after the game. "We were up 2-1".
Coach Flores, happy with the win, spoke of the team's continued need for growth. "I think it's a learning process," said Flores. "They have to grow: when you have a lot of high school kids that enevr been in this level, it's a rude awakening. I'm optimistic, though."
- Despite both schools belonging to the South Coast Conference, this game was officially a non-conference match. "We're going to see them again in the conference," said Flores, "so it's a good test".
- Last season, early season scoring was at a premium - scoring two goals in their first three games, and five in their first seven. The Huskies - in this young season - have scored five goals in three games.
- The victory today would have been the first regular season outright win since before the Covid pandemic, except Rio had to forfeit their 3-0 win last season over ELAC last season.