News: Season Preview: Men's Soccer On The Offensive In 2013
As Edgar Manvelyan begins his fourth year as head coach of the Pasadena City College men's soccer team, he says that one aspect of the Lancers overall game must get better for the team to be successful--score more goals.
The Lancers scored just 28 goals last season in 21 matches, the lowest in Manvelyan's tenure as coach. The lack of scoring was glaring as PCC was shut out five times and were hurt in the South Coast Conference standings in settling four times with 1-1 ties.
"We did most everything right last year except we couldn't get the ball into the net," Manvelyan said. "We finished strong in conference (all six of its wins were in SCC play), but the difference between us being in fourth place and maybe reaching a playoff spot by taking third or second was our lack of finishing plays. We score just a handful more goals and it's a different season."
Manvelyan has made offense a priority this season and is excited about the return of three key players in forward Luis Flores (Pasadena High), midfielder Zack Larson (Deer Valley), and forward Eric Chavez (Pasadena). All three players tied for the team lead in goals last season with five goals each and are expected to pick up the pace as sophomores.
Maybe the team's most prized newcomer is freshman midfielder German Alfaro, a club player who attended Marshall Fundamental. "German is immensely talented and will fit in nicely as one of our top playmakers," Manvelyan said. "He can get the ball to the forwards and create things on the offensive end."
Two other key freshmen are midfielder Diego Rodriguez (Kennedy High) and defender George Barba (Birmingham).
The Lancers will have to fill the void of losing three All-SCC defenders to graduation in Michael Alcaraz, Elio Anguiano, and Yeyson Cabelleros. But PCC has a letterman in Jovanny Silva (PHS) along with talented freshmen in Barba, Max Rico (Lincoln), Fausto Espinoza (Marshall Fundamental), Luis Ramirez (Muir), Jaime Jimenez (Franklin), and Mario Monroy (Garfield).
Manvelyan feels the team is very strong in goal with the returning sophomore Alex Radillo (1.68 goals against average and three shutouts, Salesian High) and Gaetano Perez (Marshall Fundamental), who last played as the Lancers' top goalie in the 2006 season. Perez had a 1.50 GAVG and posted four shutouts that year.
Manvelyan said: "We've been a bit shaky in goal the past few years, but Alex outplayed our other two goalies last season. Gaetano is a true veteran who has exceptional skills. We have two good goalies for a change."
Complete PCC roster at this link: http://www.pasadena.edu/athletics/soccer/men/players.cfm
LANCERS RALLY FOR 2-2 TIE IN SEASON OPENER AT LA MISSION
On September 2, PCC showed some of the offensive firepower in peppering host Los Angeles Mission with 23 shots on goal in rallying for a 2-2, season-opening tie at the Sepulveda Basin Sports Complex in Encino. The Lancers fired away at Mission with 12 shots in the first half, including three point-blank opportunities in the opening few minutes, but came up empty as Mission scored two goals to take a 2-0 halftime lead.
The Lancers pressured the attack in the second half, netting their first of two goals by Flores in the 50th minute. Alfaro took the ball into the corner then sent a long pass that Flores re-directed on the fly with a nifty turn of his right foot that cut the lead to 2-1.
In the 70th minute, Rico started a superb tic-tac-toe play as he led a pass to Larson into the box. Larson immediately tapped it to Flores for a one-timer and the tying score. Flores had just missed in the 61st minute when he went around Mission goalie Alejandro Chavez in the goal box and shot a short attempt wide of the goal.
Radillo made eight saves, several acrobatic ones, including a big stop on a flick attempt by Jeff Cordoba (scored a goal and added an assist for Mission) in the 83rd minute. In the 90th minute, Monroy defended a Mission attempt in the box to preserve the tie.
"We probably could have been up 4-0 in the opening 10 minutes," Manvelyan said. "I was very pleased because we fought back after having that first letdown of not scoring. We dominated the second half and we created a ton of scoring chances."
The coaching staff, including associate head coach Henry Cabral and assistant David Vasquez, praised the play of Alfaro and Rodriguez. The two teams played in sweltering conditions as the temperature reached 105 degrees in the San Fernando Valley that afternoon.
[Photo--Luis Flores scores the tying goal on this play as PCC knots LA Mission, 2-2, in the Lancers' 2013 season opener Tuesday in Encino, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]
Release Date: 09/04/2013