Winless road trip sets back Comets

Missed chances hinder team entering conference

By Lorenzo Morotti, Associate Editor

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The men’s soccer team finished its road trip winless after a 2-2 tie at Butte College on Sept. 13, followed by a 3-1 loss on Friday at Las Positas College.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t score you won’t get results. It is simple as that,” Contra Costa College men’s soccer coach Nikki Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the Comets (4-3-1 overall) were unable to finish key plays that would have led to positive results.

“I thought this was the best game  (Las Positas) we have played all season. We played very well, we just did not finish our chances,” he said.

Against Las Positas on Friday, Comet striker Christian Geronimo said, “The game was sealed after (the Hawks) scored the third goal.”

Comet goalkeeper Eduardo Escamilla said, before the game sealing goal, morale was already down. But CCC kept fighting and the referee awarded the Comets a penalty kick. Comet midfielder Juvenal Pena found the net for CCC which made the score 2-1 at minute 65.

“We were still in it at that point,” Escamilla said. “We were still fighting for possession and playing a more offensive type of game.

This tactic left the Comet backline exposed as it pressed high up the field to force turnovers.

“We had a corner kick. Las Positas got us on the counter,” Geronimo said. “There was a bit of miscommunication between the center backs and (the Hawk’s) defensive clearance went past midfield and to (Las Positas striker Marco Neves), that left our defense chasing him. The clearance caught our defense flat footed and at that point it was a one-on-one situation and (Neves) made it 3-1 with 10 minutes left to play.”

The game was 0-0 at half time, but Ferguson said scoring an own goal five minutes into the second half cost the team a win.

“In the first 20 minutes of the game we outshot them 10 to 1,” he said.

Roughly 10 minutes after the first goal, the Hawks midfielder Matt Hafizi scored a screamer into the far top corner of the net from 30 yards out.

“(Hafizi) took a wonder shot,” Escamilla said. “He hit it from way outside the box into the upper (corner) — there was nothing I could do. It’s just one of those killer shots that I could not reach.”

Against Butte on Sept. 13, the Comets tied 2-2 through a last minute goal by Comet forward Jordan Fletchero with less than one minute remaining in the game. In the second half, the Roadrunners were awarded a penalty kick.

Butte scored its first attempt from the spot, but because a defender stepped into the penalty area before the shot taker made contact with the ball, the referee called to retake the shot.

Geronimo said the Roadrunners changed shot takers to try and intimidate CCC’s goalkeeper. “The second time our goalkeeper (Escamilla) blocked it to keep us in the game,” he said. “It was still 1-1 at that point, so he kept us in it.”

“I got hit in the chest and the trainer told me it was a bruised rib so I didn’t play the rest of the game,” Geronimo said. “And then Butte scored another goal to make it 2-1 before the half.

“The second half score was the same until Fletchero scored in the last minute to tie the game.” The first Bay Valley Conference game for the 2015 champions is on Tuesday against Mendocino College at the Soccer Field.

“We want to start conference play as best as we can so we need to be in good form in all aspects over these next two games,” Escamilla said. “But we are going to work hard to improve our finishing in training.”