Ramiro Barraza had a hat trick but Taft College could not capitalize on a man advantage Tuesday and settled for a 3-all non-conference soccer tie with Cerritos College in Norwalk.
The Cougars remain undefeated, however, and will take a 4-0-2 record into today’s 4 p.m. game at Long Beach City College that will be streamed live over the Internet at www.socalcollegesports.com
“It’s a first for us to get that kind of coverage,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona.
The Cougars blanked LBCC 3-0 when the teams played here two weeks ago, and that has the coach worried.
“Long Beach is a good team, and we can’t afford to be complacent,” Cutrona said. “The first time we played we didn’t have as much control as I would have liked.”
The Cerritos game was, in a word, weird.
“It was a weird game, but one that was fun to watch for the spectators,” Cutrona said. “Not so much for the coaches.”
All of the scoring was done in the first half.
Barraza broke the scoring ice early by beating Cerritos goalie Brett Hughes to a loose ball 8:49 into the game.
The Falcons wasted no time getting even on a header just over a minute later.
Barraza, a freshman forward from Bakersfield High, got behind the Cerritos defense at the 22:18 mark and sent a low shot into the back of the net to put the Cougars up again.
A little luck helped Cerritos draw even again when an errant pass deflected off another Falcon and ricocheted past Cougar keeper Roberto Gonzalez at 33:29.
Six minutes later Cerritos midfielder Oscar Enriquez was whistled for a cleats-up red card that gave the Cougars a man up, Cutrona said.
Barraza took advantage with an open-net goal at the 40-minute mark to put the Cougars ahead once again.
However, the Falcons pressed the TC defense and drew even again with 10 seconds left in the half on an indirect free kick in the penalty box after the Cougars were called for a high kick.
That was the last time either team would score.
TC surrendered the man advantage with 13 minutes left in the game when Trevon Demison earned his second yellow card and was ejected.
Cutrona said his team missed a number of go-ahead shots in the second half, including “several legitimate point-blank shots. We had six or seven good shots that didn’t go in.”
Still, the game could have gone either way, he said.
Page 2 of 2 - “It could easily have ended up 6-3 in our favor,” he said. “And, we could have lost 4-3. It was that kind of game.”
While Barraza got the goals, Eddie Lopez and Jose Gonzalez had assists.
Roberto Gonzalez, who prepped at Taft High, recorded four saves in the Cougar net.
The game was a match-up of the state’s No. 9 team (Cerritos) and No. 10 team (Taft), but even though it was a standoff on the Falcons’ home field, Cerritos moved up a notch in the power rankings while the Cougars slipped to No. 14.
TC is ranked 12th in the nation on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll released Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Cougar women suffered their second consecutive five-goal loss.
After losing to Mt. San Antionio 6-1 last week, the Cougars were shut out at East Los Angeles Tuesday, 5-0.
“We just weren’t focused,” said head coach Myisha Cutrona. “We came out flat and gave up early goals. We just didn’t show up. We played like we had other thoughts on our mind. Our immaturity really showed.”
The women, too, are in Long Beach today for a 2 p.m. non-conference tune-up for the men’s game.