Taft College’s men’s soccer team has managed to turn its home field advantage into a disadvantage.
That is the assessment from head coach Angelo Cutrona after the Cougars played to their third tie on the home field – a 1-1 standoff with San Bernardino Valley (8-7-4).
TC (13-0-4) remains one of two teams that are undefeated. The other one is City College of San Francisco (14-0-3), which inched ahead of the Cougars for the No. 1 spot in the state rankings.
“That is our third tie at home,” Cutrona said. “Somehow, we have managed to turn our home field advantage into a home field disadvantage. I think maybe it’s our lack of focus. The guys come out of class and go right to the field. When we travel, we are focused on the bus ride.”
He said SBVC came in with a good game plan, and the Wolverines were rested.
“San Bernardino drove up the day before. I felt they also had a good game plan that they executed very well. We had a game plan too but didn’t execute.”
The game also marked the first time the Cougar defense has been scored upon since the dramatic 4-2 win over Long Beach City College back on Sept. 21.
In between, the Cougars shut out nine consecutive opponents.
“We made some mistakes we normally don’t make,” Cutrona said.
“We scored first and I thought we were in good shape, but we let off the gas and they scored. We made a mistake on defense we typically don’t do.”
Andres Iniguez, a freshman midfielder from Mira Monte High in Bakersfield, scored his second goal of the season on an assist – his fourth – from Gerardo Gonzalez, and Taft High product Roberto Gonzalez had five saves in the Cougar goal. He has 68 saves on the season and has allowed just 10 goals in his 1,355 minutes guarding the net.
Another factor in the tie might have been the pressure of being the No. 1 team in the state.
“Some of our guys are just tired, and they struggled a little bit on Tuesday,” he said.
Home game preparation will get more attention, Cutrona said.
“We’re going to work on that stuff to be better prepared.”
That starts today when West Hills-Lemoore (8-7-1) comes to town for a Central Valley Conference tussle on the Tenth Street field. Action begins at 3 p.m.