After three straight wins to open the season, the Taft College men’s soccer team on Tuesday fought visiting East Los Angeles to a 1-all standoff but hopes to get back on track today when the Cougars host Los Angeles Mission.
Action begins at 3 p.m. on the 10th and San Emidio field.
Ramiro Barraza headed in a pass from Julio Lopez with about 15 minutes left to pull the Cougars into a tie even though they were down a man after captain Edgar Plascensia was re-carded for using a profane adjective.
“That’s when we turned it up a notch,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona. “We had two chances to go ahead but could have done better.”
The East L.A. goalkeeper made a nifty save on a penalty kick by Julio Lopez and Barraza missed on an open net header earlier in the game.
“It’s funny,” Cutrona said. “He missed with an open net five minutes earlier, then put it away when he was well marked.”
The tie broke a three-game win streak to open the season.
Cutrona didn’t think his team played particularly well.
“We didn’t play well against Long Beach but won 3-0,” he said. “I thought we took another step back (Tuesday).”
He hopes his team will be eager to get some rhythm back today.
“I want us to be a little ticked off,” he said. “We need to show we are not going backward.”
Plus, he wants some bounce heading into next Tuesday’s road game against perennial Southern California power Cerritos.
“It’s going to be a true test for us.”
East L.A.’s goal came on a strange play.
A Cougar player was clearly fouled but the referee had jumped out of the way to avoid the ball.
“When he jumped out of the way he missed a pull-down on one of our guys,” Cutrona said. “That should have been a free kick for us. Our guys relaxed for a moment expecting a whistle that we didn’t get and East L.A. caught us off-guard and scored. It was just one of those things. It was an obvious foul and we made a mistake.”