The Lancers could only come away from Chaffey College with a 1-1 draw in their first conference game of the season.
PCC began the match as they always do: pressing high with their defensive wingbacks, going passed the midfield area and dominating possession with quick passes.
However, what was acknowledged in every pre-season game was the concern that defensively PCC are prone to counter attacks.
Of which was the case during the first 40 minutes of the game. Before the first goal PCC often gave up possession in the final third, giving Chaffey the opportunity to counter with their three forwards (they often switched positions with one another) against three – sometimes two – PCC players in the back.
Andrew Espinoza was called to action in the 10th minute and four minutes later, saving the first shot as well as diving to a low placed shot near his second post that went wide.
“When they counter attacked all I told [my defenders] was to keep shape, watching over your shoulder for a run from the back,” said Espinoza. “If there was a long ball I told them to either cut it out or I’ll come catch it.”
Espinoza would be called to action once again in the 32nd minute after a misplaced pass almost led to goal for Chaffey.
While possession favored PCC, few chances were created. The pressure mounted in what was a mixture of fatigue and possible nervousness.
In the 40th minute, Chaffey opened up the score by way of a counter attack. Their winger gave a low pass from the right side to the penalty area towards Gustavo Chavez who moved along briskly passed PCC’s centerbacks slotting in a low shot past the goalkeepers first post.
Coach Henry Cabral was often seen exacerbated in the sidelines.
According to Coach Cabral, he was discontent with how the team was playing and made a couple changes, entering second half.
Coach Cabral’s changes would prove effective a minute into second half. Substitute Roman Sislian would tie things up and get his first goal with PCC in the process.
Midfielder Marlon Flores quick pass toward Sislian gave him the ability to release a wonderful outside foot shot from 24 yards out as it dipped past Chaffey’s goalkeeper.
However, Sislian’s goal wasn’t enough to give PCC the confidence to further push forward. For most of second half both sides battled it out in the midfield.
“We were dominating the game but at the end I think what beat us was everyone was just tired, especially me this is the first time I’ve been playing that much,” said Sislian. “During practice I’m going to push a bit more so I can get more game fit and last longer ‘cause I ended up cramping towards the end.”
The closest opportunity for Chaffey to score in the second half was via a long throw-in towards the penalty box.
In the 63rd minute, the Lancers got an opportunity on goal as Bryce Watson’s low cross inside the penalty area was dangerous enough to see Chaffey’s keeper be called to action.
PCC was unlucky to see a couple of their players cramp up on separate occasions.
“They score an early goal, which gave us a little unbalance, but we came back and tied it up,” said Watson. “I feel real confident we’re going to do well this season.”
PCC will be facing East L.A. College on Tuesday October 3rd at 2:00 p.m. in their first home game of the season.