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COC men's soccer: Late push nets a win

Cougars score in stoppage time for victory

Posted: October 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons soccer players Jesus Salazar (5) and Maayan Schrager (11) advance the ball on Tuesday at College of the Canyons. Both scored goals on Tuesday.

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After more than 90 minutes of play, the College of the Canyons men’s soccer team needed one more push.

And the Cougars got it.

In stoppage time, Canyons’ Jesus Salazar received a pass in the box from Uriel Rodriguez and buried the ball into the back of the net to give COC a 2-1 victory over Citrus College on Tuesday afternoon at College of the Canyons.

It was one of the few opportunities either team was able to capitalize on during the match, which was scoreless until the 25th minute.

After a mistake by COC’s defense, Citrus’ Jose Garces received the ball on the right side of the penalty box, where he was taken down and awarded a penalty shot.

Garces scored to give the Fighting Owls (2-5-3, 0-2-1) a 1-0 lead.

The Cougars (4-0-5, 2-0-1) had two golden opportunities to tie the game up late in the first half, when what was only their second shot on goal of the game went off the crossbar in the 43rd minute.

Despite trailing, the Cougars seemed to have the momentum going into halftime.

“(We said at halftime) we need to make a commitment to get the game level in the first fifteen minutes,” said Canyons head coach Phil Marcellin. “It’s critical (to score early in the second half). It’s a critical change.”

Citrus head coach Fred Bruce-Oliver lamented his team’s missed opportunities.

“We just fretted away those chances,” Bruce-Oliver said. “We didn’t do a good job of keeping the ball. We had a lot of chances (to put the game away).”

And those failures caught up with them in the second half.

COC’s Maayan Schrager scored to tie the game in the 56th minute off an assist from Darwin Ortiz.

The rest of the way, Canyons maintained the pressure on the Fighting Owls but were unable to score the go-ahead goal before the game went into extra time.

And that’s when the game changed.

Marcellin made a couple of key changes to the lineup, including putting Rodriguez back into the game.

Rodriguez started a counterattack with about one minute remaining in extra time deep in Canyons’ territory. He took the ball up the right side, muscled past a Citrus defender and sent the cross into the box to a waiting Salazar.

“That paid off,” Marcellin said of the changes. “And good composure by (Salazar) in the box to receive it, look up and score.”

Canyons will be back on the field at 4 p.m. Friday at Santa Barbara.

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