Men’s soccer team gets two impressive wins on consecutive days

Defensive fortitude lifts Comets to clean sheet victory over CCSF

In a tightly contested 2-0 victory Wednesday, the Contra Costa College men’s soccer team (3-4-1), by beating City College of San Francisco (2-3-1), has reversed course and now has beaten two ranked teams in a row.

After a 4-1 thrashing of Las Positas College (2-1-2) on Tuesday, the Comets had the tough task of facing a good Rams team just 24 hours later. The matchup of surging teams resulted in a hard-fought contest that saw seven bookings shared by both squads.

What allowed CCC to be adventurous up front in the attack was the defensive solidarity that the back line and the goalkeepers provided.

The Comets held CCSF scoreless despite playing their second game in two days.

“Our legs are tired and we were cramping up, but you just have to push through it — that’s the schedule we have,” Comet forward Alejandro Fernandez said.

In the match, both teams shared half of the possessions, while continuing to press at a high pace. The skill and intensity displayed by the teams made the game an entertaining affair until the final whistle.

CCC’s ability to commit defensively as a unit was a key to its victory against the Rams.

“What helped us a lot was our communication,” Comet goalie Humberto Melendez said.

“Communication leads to organization. We defend the whole game and try to keep the clean sheet.”

CCC men’s soccer coach Nikki Ferguson said ever since he’s been with the men’s team here, he has focused on defensive organization.

“You can be crafty with the ball on the attacking side, but if you can’t defend you’re putting yourself in a situation you don’t want to be in,” Ferguson said.

In the 70th minute, Comet forward Diego Ibarra played a 45 pass to the top of the box where winger Carlos Cruz placed the ball near the far post to put the Rams’ chances of winning to rest and the Comets ahead 2-0.

This counter attack goal came five minutes after a Rams’ player received a red card for tackling a Comet player with his feet up.

That call forced Rams’ coach Adam Lucarelli to have his team play a 3-3-3 formation, which left his defense vulnerable to the Comet attack.

Lucarelli said, “When that happens you do the best you can. You have to pull a player and kind of change the lineup a little bit and it’s hard to do that when you are down a goal.”

He said in that moment the Rams took their chances pushing forward, but that decision was what allowed CCC to score its second goal.

Even though the Comets were aggressive from the first whistle, getting the early goal was crucial for their attacking mindset.

The second goal, one that came off the head of Fernandez from defender Raul Garcia’s corner kick during the 6th minute is something that the team works on a lot in practice.

“It’s the usual play,” Fernandez said. “I saw the first post wide open so I ran to the space and hit it in. I thought I got a decent hit on it, but I just got there a little late so I had to stretch out (at the) last second.”

Fernandez, who was also the recipient of a red card at the end of the game, said that he and CCSF’s Angel Solis “were exchanging some words,” which resulted in both of them getting ejected.

“They (the Comets) just have to understand the situation in the game,” Ferguson said about being up 2-0 with two minutes left — when players from each team got red cards for an exchange of words.

“It’s just about not making those mental mistakes,” he said.