Pirates edge Comets 2-1

CCC’s impotent offense pressures defense to cede late game goal, draw against Modesto


George Morin / The Advocate

Comet midfielder Carlos Munoz (right) heads the ball away from Pirate midfielder Diego Duran during the first hal of CCC’s 2-1 loss to Modesto Junior College at the Soccer Field on Sept. 2.

By Lorenzo Morotti, Editor-in-Chief

Modesto Junior College scored a late-game goal to edge the Comets 2-1 on the Soccer Field on Sept. 2.

Contra Costa College’s (1-1-0 overall) erratic positioning repeatedly slowed down its passing play in the midfield to allow the Pirates to read developing CCC passing plays and dispossess the ball throughout the first half.

Comet assistant coach Andres Orejuela said his team could have won the game after displaying a heightened level of communication between players in the second half, but poor communication and errant passes during the first half made it difficult for CCC to come back.

“The way the (Comets) played in the second half is how we should have played from the beginning. Unfortunately, we did not play the full 90 minutes today — only 45,” Orejuela said.

Late in the game, with the scored tied 1-1, solid chemistry between the Pirate midfield and backline produced a series of quick one-two passes to bring the ball up the right wing in the 87th minute.

The game winning play developed in the MJC (1-0-2 overall) defensive third of the field with the Comet backline positioned too high once the play reached midfield.

MJC right back Christian Vega had the ball returned to him from the midfield to burst down the wing to cross the ball to center defensive midfielder Luiz Velazquez, who had made an overlapping run toward the far post.

Velazquez received the pass in open space and had just enough time to remain composed mere yards in front of CCC goalkeeper Jose Ayala and tapped it in for the game-winning goal with only three minutes remaining.

MJC coach Sebastian Gutierrez said, “It’s great we didn’t leave here with a tie. Our players kept the game on the (CCC) side of the field for the first half keeping us in control of the game.”

CCC was outshot 9-1 in the opening half and only produced one corner kick to the Pirates’ four. At game’s end, the Comets had five shots to Modesto’s 12.

CCC center back and captain Brad Alman communicated well with his defensive backline even after an early injury that forced CCC to use its first substitute of the game.

Michael Gonzalez went into the game at the 10th minute after Nicolas Bob rolled his ankle trying to keep possession during a 50-50 chance on ball.  

Alman said, “I knew what I had to do.” He moved from the center back position out wide toward the right back position to cover space that the quick attacking wingers were using to get into the attacking third in attempts to send in the cross.

Ayala only had two saves in the first half because most of MJC’s shots were off target. He finished the game with five saves.

The Pirates’ attacking pressure on Ayala and the CCC backline subsided momentarily when Gonzalez forced MJC center back Mohanad Aljwaizawi to score an own goal in the 75th minute.

On that play, Gonzalez launched an aerial ball toward the near post from 35 yards out off a free kick. When Aljwaizawi attempted to header the ball clear, it deflected off his head to the far post and into the goal past Modesto goalkeeper Luis Garcia.

Gutierrez said, “The guys just lost focus in the midfield and gave up a foul that led to the own goal.”