Men’s Soccer Wins Its First Game of Season

John Ferrara, El Vaquero Staff Writer

Men’s soccer coach Joe Agoston also teaches theatre arts, but his locker room is no place for prima donnas.

“Last year we had too many people who were self-centered,” said Agoston.

This year’s team is made up of 23 freshmen and one sophomore. Most players from the 2011 squad didn’t return and those who did were cut from the roster.

This inexperienced team has suffered through its first six, losing all five preseason matches, and the regular season opener by an average of nearly five goals per game.

However, the Vaqs managed to win their first game of the season against Allan Hancock College Friday night at home, bringing their regular season record to a respectable 1-1.

Coach Laura Matsumoto urged players to “turn it around” in pregame warm-ups while Agoston preached his motto to “keep it simple.”

In the first half the Vaqs looked strong scoring early and held a three goal lead.

Midfielder Genaro “Junior” Barrientos motivated his teammates by scoring two of the four first half goals.

Team captain and goalkeeper Bryant Molina also had a few crowd-pleasing saves to keep his team in the game, despite giving up a goal with 11 minutes to go in the half.

“Tonight, for the first time, you guys are beginning to look like a team,” Agoston said at halftime.

“Don’t get comfortable, just keep pounding ’em,” said Matsumoto, reminding her players to “keep your head in the game.”

In the second half, Glendale became lackadaisical and tried to defend its three goal lead rather than continuing to attack. The players began to tire and failed to keep their defense tight around the net, allowing two consecutive goals by Allan Hancock early.

But the Vaqueros managed to hold off the Bulldogs for the remaining 25 minutes.

Hancock players became frustrated when they were unable to tie the game, and with a few minutes left, a small fight broke out. Max Estrada of Hancock College threw a retaliation punch following a rough foul, and the benches cleared.

Molina showed his leadership skills during the scuffle, dominating the field with his booming voice. “Get back!” he told his team as he pulled his players to their sideline.

When the dust settled, Estrada received only a yellow card, an incorrect call by rulebook standards. However, there’s something to be said for a referee who understands that fighting is part of the game.

Glendale escaped the brawl uninjured and clinched its first victory of the season when whistles blew four minutes into stoppage time.

“They almost paid the price,” said Agoston of his teams lazy second half performance. “Hopefully these guys continue to improve.”

If Molina continues to be a strong influence and the team can stick with its game plan, it could make it to the postseason. However, if this young, scrappy group can’t mesh and develop consistent team play, it may feel the wrath of Agoston’s curtain-call.