Offense flounders as Butte triumphs

By Joel Umanzor, Staff Writer

Inconsistent officiating was the theme of the day as the men’s soccer team (3-5-1) fell to Butte College (6-1-1) 3-0 on Friday at the Soccer Field to cap off a three-game week.
Starting fast was a theme for the Roadrunners who understood the impact that the field conditions would present as the game progressed.
“We wanted to come out fast and press for the first five to seven minutes,” Roadrunner coach Ross Sandberg said.
“Being here three out of the last four years we know that it’s a thick field, slow field and because of those field conditions it creates and induces mistakes,” he said.
The Roadrunners took a commanding 2-0 lead into the break after capitalizing on a mistake by the Comet goalkeeper Humberto Melendez in the 38th minute.
The goal came after a goal kick where Melendez ordered the team to go high upfield but gifted the kick straight to the Roadrunner forwards which ended in an easy goal for forward Adrian Jauregui-Rodr.
Comet coach Nikki Ferguson said, “It was just one of those days where nothing goes right, and it’s good to have it now versus later on.
“I’d rather have it now than versus our first conference (opponent). We did well this week and we hit a bump today but you just hope you can bounce back, regroup and go back at it again.”
Butte originally opened the scoring in the 5th minute of the game, which contributed to the Comets stalling offensively.
“I felt as if our possession wasn’t good at all today,” Ferguson said. “They overloaded the field and we struggled getting out of it. We just didn’t play well today all the way around.”
The officiating miscommunication was evident throughout the game and has been a constant theme for both coaches who questioned the gray areas allowing officials to make the game flow choppy.
In the 60th minute the Butte goalkeeper came out of the box to defend against forward Eduardo De Loa, which resulted in impeding the play with his hands illegally.
The officials ultimately ruled that the Butte goalie was outside the box and was hindering a breakaway, but was not given a red card for a “last defender” foul.
That means the last member of the defending side was in a position to stop an attacking player with an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. If he does so, he should automatically be sent off, which wasn’t the case here.
De Loa said, “Diego saw me make that back diagonal run and he played me. The goalie got me with his cleats but he used his hand outside of the area.
“It was a handball outside the box,” De Loa said. “If he hadn’t been there I would have been able to chip the ball over him as he was the last player in between me and the goal.”
Ferguson was livid at the call on the field and asked for a explanation from the officials, but no official response was given at the time to either bench.
“I thought it was a red card,” Ferguson said. He was out of the box. He was the last man and it was a handball, so by the letter of the law that’s a red card.”
Also, a hard foul in the second half led to two Comet players and a Butte player tangling and falling to the ground with the aftermath being Comet Moises Hernandez suffering a broken clavicle and two bruised ribs.
“This injury will be a tough one and it’s ironic because he just got back,” Ferguson said of the injury.
He said the tough loss was a learning experience for the team going forward.