By Javier Cabrera / Sports Editor
By Javier Cabrera / Sports Editor
Santa Ana steals a 4-2 win over Riverside City College on Oct. 2, and hands the team their first conference loss of the season.
The Tigers went into the game to test and measure themselves against one of the power house teams in the Orange Empire Conference, but finished the game with the opposite.
“Nothing goes the way you plan it and that’s the beauty of soccer,” said coach Francisco Melgarejo.
With Santa Ana winning three of the past four meetings against the Tigers and RCC winning five of their first seven games, Riverside had reason to believe they’d win this game.
Throughout the game, the Tigers had a hard time getting their momentum as both their offense and defense struggled and the officials made ridiculous calls against them.
“We had a lot of chances to score and we didn’t finish them, but I blame 50 percent on the referee and the other 50 on us,” said Melgarejo.
On one play that should have been a goal for RCC, striker Jimmy Martinez was next to the last two defenders, but when the ball arrived to Martinez as he made his move towards the Santa Ana goal, the assistant referee singled him offside.
A player is not in an offside position if he is in his own half of the field of play, if he is level with the second-last opponent or if he is level with the last two opponents, according to the FIFA Laws of the Game.
“That was the stupidest offside call I have ever seen,” said Melgarejo. “I’ve never seen a call like that and I have played professionally.”
Riverside‘s defense continued to make mistakes as they lost another goal to their opponent in the first minute of the game.
“These players try to think they can take on two or three opponents and take it all the way for the goal, but it doesn’t work that way and they know it,” said Melgarejo. “It comes down to personal mistakes.”
With minutes left in the game, a player from Santa Ana kicked the leg of Edgar Gomez. It sparked both teams and parents to rush onto the field and forced the game to finish early.
“The referee was right there to see everything, but he did nothing to protect the player, and that is why our players were upset and caused a fight,” said Melgarejo.
The Tigers walked off the field angry and bleeding as coach Melgarejo reminded the team Santa Ana has to face them once again back in Riverside on Oct. 27.
The team also lost forward Alvaro Mendoza after he pulled a muscle in his leg during a play in the first half of the game, but despite the injury he is listed as day-to-day.
“I am crossing my fingers that it’s nothing too serious, because he is a really good player and he needs to be on the field,” said Melgarejo.
Mendoza continued to battle his muscle injury as he played against Fullerton on Oct. 6 and scored one goal in the 6-4 win.
After the game, Mendoza said he can play with the injury but he can’t do full sprints.
Robert Tornel lead the Tigers with two goals as Martinez and Anthony Aguirre added one each in the win over Fullerton.
“It was a good bounce back from Santa Ana,” said Melgarejo.
Jordan Davis joked after the game saying he has no excuses for the goals he let pass by, but said his old soccer shoes affect his game and wishes for the Riverside students to pitch in for a new pair of shoes.
RCC now plays on the road for two games, starting on Oct. 9 in Cypress followed by Santiago Canyon on Oct. 13 before returning home against Golden West on Oct. 16.