Taft College takes on Mt. San Antonio College Tuesday

Taft College’s men’s soccer team has an opportunity to claim a measure of redemption this afternoon when the Cougars entertain defending state champion and the state’s current No. 1 team.

Mt. San Antonio College from Walnut in Southern California handed the Cougars a bitter 2-1 defeat last December in the state championship match played in Sacramento.

The Mounties scored on a penalty kick in front of the Cougar net following a hotly disputed hand-ball call.  The winning goal came on an own goal.

Mt. SAC comes in with a perfect 5-0 record and is coming off a 2-1 victory over another SoCal powerhouse – Santa Ana.

“This is going to be a big one for us,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona.

The Cougars, meanwhile, played to a scoreless tie last Friday with two-time state champion Cerritos in Norwalk.

“Cerritos played really wide so you have to make sure you cover your gaps,” Cutrona said.  “At times, we sat back.  They did the very same thing.  I would have preferred that we attacked them more.”

He said the game was played primarily in midfield.

Cerritos took six shots on goal, but only four were legitimate, Cutrona said.

Cougar goalkeeper Roberto Gonzalez, a freshman from Taft High, blocked all of them.

He has started the last two games and has two shutouts.

“He’s doing a great job,” Cutrona said.  “He’s very quick on his feet.”

The Cougars had some good scoring opportunities but couldn’t convert.

“We had two golden opportunities and should have come away with a victory,” he said.

In today’s 3 o’clock match-up with Mt. SAC, he said he’ll be looking for the visitors to push things.

“They are a very high pressuring team.  We need to be safe in the back and need to finish our chances.”

The Cougar women, who are 2-3-1, get things started at 1 p.m. by hosting Antelope Valley College (0-2-0).

Both matches are being played on the soccer field at Tenth and San Emidio streets.