Playoff hopes for men’s soccer slipping away after loss to Long Beach City College

Freshman+forward+Jorge+Gutierrez%2816%29+looks+to+make+a+pass+upfield+while+being+defended+by+a+Long+Beach+City+player.+The+Warriors+lost+to+the+Vikings%2C+3-1%2C+during+a+home+game+on+Friday%2C+Oct.+30.+Photo+credit%3A+Jo+Rankin

Freshman forward Jorge Gutierrez(16) looks to make a pass upfield while being defended by a Long Beach City player. The Warriors lost to the Vikings, 3-1, during a home game on Friday, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Jo Rankin

The referee’s whistle blew, coaches complained for a foul call, and the men’s soccer team was more physical than usual because enough cards were not handed out.

Hopes of making playoffs slowly faded away for the Warriors’ men’s soccer team (2-3-5 in conference) as Long Beach City College (7-3 in conference) worked hard for their win on Friday.

Hard fouls in midfield from both sides stopped the game often.

“EC is a tough opponent, we know they play physical,” LBCC coach Cameron Beaulac said. “I felt that they didn’t back down and neither did we. It was a good soccer game overall.”

This season, the Long Beach Vikings beat El Camino twice, both showdowns ending with the final score of 3-1.

For the Warriors, every win is crucial since their hopes of making the playoffs is low. On the other hand, the Vikings have won five straight games and will easily qualify to move on after the regular season is over.

“Even if we win the next four conference games, our playoff run is still undecided,” EC assistant coach Ever Morotoya said. “Depending on other teams’ season records will decide if (the Warriors) advance or get cut.”

Defense has been EC’s weakness all season. Offensively, they are not a 90-minute team, either coming out strong in the first and stopping their efforts in the second half, or vice-versa.

“We need more effort from everyone,” Morotoya said. “The first half intensity dropped at half time, it didn’t carry onto the second.”

The Vikings took advantage of a penalty kick from forward Evair Marin in the first two minutes to give them the upper hand.

Another goal followed at the 26-minute mark from defender James Pacheco, Long Beach adding to their lead, 2-0.

Although Long Beach led throughout most of the first half, LBCC coach Beaulac was shouting at the players to keep attacking and to not let up.

The first half was intense and physical for the players on both sides.

A goal from freshman forward Marcos Ambriz in the last two minutes of the first half gave EC confidence and brought them closer to tying the game.

“We played hard in the first half and we were hoping it would carry on for the rest of the game,” Warriors coach John Britton said. “Mistakes and easy opportunities cost us the game.”

Desperate to tie the game, frustration was visible in the faces of the Warriors. Their confidence didn’t carry on and slowly they were losing the game to themselves — except for sophomore forward Manuel Paez.

For the remainder of the game, Paez was the only player attacking and his physicality never dropped. He was playing so hard that at the 59-minute mark, he was given a yellow card for fouling a Viking defender.

“That kid has talent,” Beaulac said. “He has potential to play Division 1 soccer. It’s always good playing against people like him.”

The Vikings sealed the game with a goal at the 83-minute mark from forward Manuel Larios which gave them the final 3-1 lead.

“We need more effort and need to compete more,” EC co-captain, sophomore midfielder Ryan Zein, said.

The Warriors’ next game is away at East L.A. College on Tuesday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.