RHC men’s soccer team remain undefeated in South Coast Conference


Photo by Crystian Mendoza/ El Paisano

RHC players Mauricio Sanchez steals the ball after a poor clearance from an ECC Compton defender and immediately pushes up for a counter- attack Oct. 14.

Crystian Mendoza , Sports Editor

The Rio Hondo College men’s soccer team hosted Chaffey College Oct. 11 to start off their week with yet another tough conference matchup.

The first half remained scoreless, with neither team able to put one behind the net in the first 45 minutes as they approached the half-time whistle.

After their half-time break and a few words from their coaches, both teams stepped back onto the field in hopes of getting the victory.

Chaffey College managed to get on the scoreboard first, with Johnathan Umana scoring the opener off of Cristian Fernandez’s assist in the 60th minute of the game.

Coming back from a goal behind isn’t something new to Rio Hondo, as they have recently struggled to score the opening goal against their tougher opponents.

Nonetheless, a mere ten minutes later Rio Hondo found themselves back in the game after Kevin Silva put one away for Rio Hondo off of an assist from Jefferson Cluggy-Soto to put the team back on level terms.

With the score now 1-1, both teams started to feel the pressure of a possible loss as well as the motivation to go all out for the win.

It was Rio Hondo’s efforts that paid dividends in the end, shortly after tying the game against Chaffey in the 70th minute, Rio took the lead in the 76th minute of the game with Mauricio Sanchez scoring off another Cluggy-Soto assist.

In six minutes Rio Hondo was able to turn the game around completely, leaving the opposing Chaffey College players completely distraught.

With only close to fifteen minutes remaining in the match, the pressure was on for Chaffey College if they wanted to salvage a point on the night.

Yet, Rio Hondo held their ground and the Roadrunners managed to get the 2-1 win over their rivals after 90 minutes.

Thanks to their comeback, Rio Hondo still currently remains undefeated in the South Coast Conference improving their record to 2-0-2 and 6-2-4 overall.

After their win over Chaffey, Rio Hondo looked to host El Camino College-Compton Center Oct. 14 in an inter division game that they have every intention of winning.

The game was intense from the start, as both teams went straight into their attack combining passes amongst each other to advance down the field.

Yet neither side was able to get a shot on target, instead they were holding possession of the ball and looking to create space but not really doing anything threatening.

Both sides were defensively strong, and whenever an opportunity would arise an opposing defender was always there to clear the ball out causing even more pressure.

Finally the opening goal of the match was scored, but it was from the opposing El Camino College team who consistently kept their foot on the pedal as Andrew Franco gave his side the lead.

The score remained 1-0 going into half-time, and Head Coach Brenes was not happy with his team’s performance up until then.

“You’re either going to change in the second-half, or you’re going to lose two, or three zero” said Coach Brenes.

“We need to rectify this the best we can,” and that is exactly what Rio Hondo set out to do as the second-half commenced.

Shortly after the second half started, the momentum in Rio Hondo’s players definitely intensified as the words of their coach rang fresh in their ears.

The Roadrunners went straight for the goal on every play, making quick touches as they tried to advance up the field with every pass.

A moment of brilliance from Rio Hondo’s attack saw them get back  into the game when a striker drove the ball up the field and got past a few defenders, making it into the 18-yard box before being fouled by an opposing El Camino College defender, earning Rio Hondo a penalty kick and the opportunity to get back on level terms.

Carlos Jimenez was the man to step up for Rio Hondo, as the pressure of the penalty kick can often be too much for a player, especially if you’re losing the game.

Yet, Jimenez calmly set the ball down and waited for the referees whistle to cue his shot, which he put away sending the ECC goalie, Issac Gutirrez in the opposite direction.

With the game now 1-1, both Rio Hondo and El Camino picked up the tempo of the game in hopes of getting the win that night.

Evenly matched, both teams failed to score the winner but they both fought hard defensively and had huge saves that could’ve have the been game winners.

Rio Hondo College will next travel to El Camino College Oct. 18 for an away game starting at 4 pm.