Roadrunners Prevail Against Chaffey in Conference Opener

   The men’s soccer team won its South Coast Conference opening match 2-1 against Chaffey College on Tuesday after having a player sent off with a red card late in the second half. Moses Gutierrez scored the game-winning goal with five minutes left in the game to give the Roadrunners a positive start to conference play.

   Despite a flat start and being a man down, the Roadrunners took the lead early in the second half through Fernando Guerrero in the 50th minute after the attacking midfielder unleashed a bullet from outside the box which the Panthers goalkeeper was unable to keep from going in.

   It took Chaffey little time to respond as Oscar Pasillas-Palom took advantage of a defensive mishap from Rio by running onto a loose ball and slamming past the helpless Roadrunners goalie Jose Paredes.

   After the equalizer, the Panthers, despite being one-man up, decided to sit back and absorb pressure which played to Rio Hondo’s advantage.

   “We played 55 minutes with a man short and personally I don’t think they utilized their extra-man,” said head coach Orlando Brenes, “They stayed in the same formation so that was an advantage to us in the second half.”

   The Roadrunners began enjoying possession of the ball and started creating chances – it took until the 85th minute for one of those chances to be converted when Gutierrez made no mistake in putting Rio ahead for good.

   Freshman Christian Gallardo was a key figure in the team’s win as his leadership in the center of defense helped nullify the Panthers’ man-advantage. Gallardo’s direction at the back allowed his attacking players freedom going forward with one less attacker.

   “We had a time where Chaffey controlled the midfield and by talking to my players and telling them where to go things got easier for us,” said Gallardo.

   Up next for the Roadrunners is an away SCC match against East Los Angeles College which kicks-off at 2 p.m on Friday.

   “It’s going to be a good game, hopefully we go with a cold mentality and get things done over there.” said Gallardo.