ECC men’s soccer team defeats Los Angeles Harbor College, advances to next round of conference championships

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El Camino College men’s soccer forward Cristo Deras dribbles the ball past a Los Angeles Harbor player during a match at ECC Soccer Field on Friday, Nov. 8. ECC will play Cerritos College in the South Coast Conference Championships semifinals scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 12 Rosemary Montalvo/The Union

The El Camino College men’s soccer team opened the South Coast Conference soccer championships by hosting the Los Angeles Harbor Seahawks at the ECC Soccer Field on Friday, Nov. 8.

The match opened with fast-paced jittery play by both clubs. The Seahawks dictated play for the first few minutes before the Warriors fully settled in. As soon as the Warriors looked comfortable, they began controlling the flow of the game.

The tempo remained high while the jitters subsided and the Warriors had no problem playing fast.

Every time the ball entered midfield, a battle ensued due to the physicality both teams were playing with. Passing lanes were clogged and space to travel with the ball was rare and slim.

Warriors’ forward Kalyl Silva substituted for Eduardo Grados in the 27-minute and immediately had an impact. Silva was pushing L.A. Harbor farther and farther away from the Warriors’ net and and soon enough the Seahawks stopped trying to attack from the right wing.

“From the start we had the mindset to come in strong and stay strong. Be the first to put the pressure on the team and show them what we’re about to do,” Silva said. “I had all that in my mind and I was ready. I came in ready.”

Silva kept the ball in play on the left side of the Seahawks’ zone and made a quick pass to ECC teammate Christo Deras. Silva ran straight to the net, crossing Deras who commanded the attention from L.A. Harbor’s two deepest defenders. Deras connected back to Silva, who was all alone and tapped in the 1-0 goal at 60 minute mark.

“Just like every other goal it felt amazing,” Silva said. “Especially at this magnitude, this game was really important for us to win and it felt amazing.”

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El Camino College men’s soccer players celebrate the game winning goal scored by forward Kalyl Silva in the 61st minute of the match against Los Angeles Harbor at ECC Soccer Field on Friday, Nov. 8. Silva’s goal secured ECC’s spot in the South Coast Conference Championships semifinals scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 12. Rosemary Montalvo/The Union

Silva’s lone goal advances ECC into the next round of the SCC playoffs.

The Warriors hit the road to face the Cerritos Falcons (14-1-4) in the second round of the SCC Championships on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 3 p.m. The Falcons beat the Pasadena City Lancers (8-8-4) on penalty kicks in their first match of the tournament.

The Seahawks managed to keep possession and sneak in a few shots but they were from far range and often off target.

“They kept coming down the left with the same winger,” Warriors’ goalkeeper Juan Montes said. “I was telling my defenders, ‘Mark him. Get a little space between him,’ because they’re sending long balls. And it was mostly the same thing until we got it down and they started switching it over.”

The pace at the start of the second half was much calmer than the first but the physical play at midfield kept up.

“When you get to playoffs and towards the end of the year the physicality goes up, but you can’t get emotional about these situations,” Warriors’ head coach Mike Jacobson said.

Both clubs finished the game with 17 shot attempts each. The Warriors had four shots on goal compared to the Seahawks’ three.

With the win, the Warriors improved their overall record to 11-1-5 and move on to the next round of the championships. Meanwhile the loss drops L.A. Harbor College to 2-8-10 and calls an end to their season.