After a surprising defeat against L.A. Mission College last Tuesday, the Lancers hit the ground running with a 4-2 victory over Glendale Community College on Friday night.
From the get-go, the Lancers looked to press high inside GCC’s half, forcing their opposition to give incomplete passes with nowhere to go.
PCC did have a couple of shots go off target in the first 10 minutes of the game. However, minutes later, the Lancers were awarded a penalty kick following a late tackle from a GCC defender.
Yader Rodriguez would convert the first penalty of many in the game in the 13th minute making, it 1-0 for the Lancers.
The hosts looked to turn the result around right away by counter attacking PCC, forcing the Lancers to foul in various occasions, exploiting the Lancers team weak point: set pieces.
PCC goalkeeper Andrew Espinoza was called to action in the 30th minute to make a save near his first post. GCC utilized this set piece as PCC botched its zonal coverage, providing the time and space for their defender Laraichi Yassine to pounce in a solo power header, in the 31st minute, near Espinoza’s previous save.
Disgruntled with the 1-1 score, PCC stopped pressing.Two minutes later, deja vu crept as a PCC players’ pass back to the keeper was intercepted, but this time the shot to goal was off target, and GCC did not take the lead.
Minutes before half time, PCC created multiple chances, but none were on target. The score would remain 1-1 at the end of the first half.
Coming into second half, PCC slightly adjusted their tactics, switching the ball around more with quick passes.
The pressure mounted for Glendale when the referee signaled for a penalty after a hard tackle brought down a PCC player narrowly inside the area.
Rodriguez would convert the penalty kick, in the 54th minute, making it 2-1 for the visitors. The skillful left wing forward now has 4 goals in 5 games for the Lancers.
From then on the Lancers bullied Glendale’s defense, creating chance after chance. They held more possession of the ball and tracked back when they needed to. There was also no lack of concentration in this game for the team, contrasting last Tuesday’s loss.
Captain Joshua Arevalo and co-captain Pablo Buenrostro kept any GCC attack from growing, man marking Glendale’s key player, Fabricio Bonilla, height and strength gave him some advantage in creating chances.
A lovely through ball into the penalty area gave a breakaway chance for Lancers forward James Coe, who was fortunate to beat his defender and control the ball to shoot low into the left side of the goalkeepers post, in the 65th minute.
The home team presumed they could get PCC on the counter, and it seemed as if they were going to get a shot on target when defender Christopher Munoz stole the ball and crossed it towards Bryce Watson on the left side.
“We still struggled [in the back], but I feel we worked more as a team in defending and actually going up and being more aggressive towards the ball,” said Munoz.
In the 74th minute, Watson kicked off a series of tiki-taka passes between teammates that was then passed to Anthony Jimenez on the right side of the final third. Jimenez whipped a cross into the penalty box towards Coe, who stopped the ball with his chest, scoring near the keepers first post.
The Vaqueros would cut the deficit twelve minutes later via the penalty spot. However, it was too little too late for GCC as the result finished 4-2.
“It’s a huge win for us because coming from a loss against a team we shouldn’t have to is a good bounce back, especially with the league starting next week I think this is what’s going to pick us up and get us going for the league,” said captain Arevalo. “We knew we needed to pick it up and know we have the talent. We just needed to put it together so, today we came into [this game] with a better mentality.”
PCC visits an unbeaten Cerritos College (4-0-3) September 26 at 4:00 p.m. and away at Chaffey College on Friday at 2:00 p.m.