Soccer team fights for rival for region title, playoff seeding
By Jaime Garibay
The Chemeketa men’s soccer team squared off against Portland Community College on Oct. 26 for sole possession of first place in the NWAC South Region.
In their previous matchups, Chemeketa had defeated Portland both times. The first match ended in a 4-2 final while the second concluded in a 1-0 victory. The third match seemed to be on it’s way to a similar outcome.
Chemeketa’s Julio Miranda got the Storm on the board early with a score in the 13th minute. The lead wouldn’t last long though as Portland’s Carsten Gibba evened the score in the 19th minute with a goal of his own off of an assist from Franklin Cordon.
After the two early goals the pace of the game slowed as the opposing defenses took center stage. The stout defenses provided key stops for both squads as Chemeketa’s Rolando Garcia and Portland’s Christian Calzada each notched saves. Both teams would be held scoreless for the remainder of the first half.
In the second half it would be Portland getting off to the quick start. Within a minute of the second half kick-off Cordon put up his second assist, but this time with Dominique Bates on the receiving end. Bates put the ball past Garcia to put Portland on top of Chemeketa 2-1.
The second half of the game was marred by chippy play as both teams were extremely physical. Two Chemeketa players, Gustavo Mendoza and Julio Miranda, were issued yellow cards.
The physical play continued for the next 37 minutes until Chemeketa was finally able to break through late. Javier Melendrez executed a through pass allowing Miranda to slice past the defenders and score his second goal of the night.
With the game tied at 2-2 and with less than 8 minutes remaining the action heated up. Chemeketa broke through with a high pass over the defense. Eric Garibay was the first player to get to the ball. Garibay launched a cross pass that was just a out of reach for Miranda.
Chemeketa remained aggressive and charged towards the goal once again before being disrupted by a Portland foul. Majed Kelani of Portland was issued a yellow card for an overly aggressive slide tackle which awarded Miranda a free kick from about 30 yards out. Miranda’s shot was on goal but was intercepted by the outstretched arms of Portland’s goalkeeper Juan De Dios Inzunza.
The shot coincided with the conclusion of regulation time, but the referees issued 4 minutes of extra time in the half. The ball floated between the two teams at half field for much of the extra time.
As time wound down an errant pass from Portland ricocheted off of a Chemeketa player launching the ball high in the air and on a trajectory right to De Dios Inzunza’s hands. A routine play for Portland’s goalkeeper quickly turned disastrous. De Dios Inzunza bobbled the ball and allowed Chemeketa one last chance to claim victory.
Garibay got to the ball and volleyed it inwards to Melendrez who was 5 yards out with a wide open net. Melendrez took his shot.
The ball launched off the top of his foot and sailed into the air, over the goal, and out of bounds.
The game ended in a 2-2 draw dropping both team’s records to nine wins, three losses, and two ties.
Although, the Storm were unable to claim first place out right with a win; they did not lose their chance at a region title by fighting to a tie.
After the game Bryan Cortez, a first year student-athlete, said of the contest, “We should’ve won that game, but since we tied we still have the tiebreaker against Portland. If we win the next game against Rogue we can still win the regional title.”
Chemeketa plays Rogue Community College on October 29th. If they defeat Rogue they will have a bye in the first round of the NWAC playoffs and begin playing on November 5th. If Chemeketa is defeated by Rogue they will play in the NWAC playoffs first round on November 2nd.