By Christian Cataldo
The Cal Poly Pomona men’s soccer team returned home to a packed crowd at Kellogg Field on Thursday, where they faced off against the Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles in a California Collegiate Athletic Association showdown. The Broncos fought to secure their 16th win of the season with a score of 2-1.
The win makes the Broncos the CCAA regular season champions for the first time, with a conference record of 10-1 and an overall record of 16-1-1. The Golden Eagles dropped to an overall record of 13-3-0 and a 9-2 CCAA record with the loss.
During the pre-game introductions, the Broncos highlighted and recognized their senior players on the team for Senior Night.
Head coach Yossi Raz spoke about the special group of players he has on this year’s team.
“I have great leaders that play on this team and they are the ones that are making the difference,” said Raz. “My job is to help them and I’m glad we’re able to help them. But I’m happier that they chose Cal Poly, [where] they’re getting great education and they’re representing our university.”
The first half showed the physicality of each team as they fought for every possession. Both teams took five shots, but neither found the back of the net. The game went into the half with a score of 0-0.
Both teams came out for the second half aggressive, as they were fighting for the conference title.
CSULA struck first, as senior forward Sigifredo Torres headed the ball in coming from a corner kick from senior forward Halil Tozar.
The Golden Eagles controlled the game early in the second half, forcing the Broncos to make some adjustments. During the middle of the second half, Raz substituted junior forward Christian Gonzalez Diaz into the game. CCAA recognized Gonzalez Diaz earlier this season as the conference goal-scoring leader.
This substitution quickly paid off, as Gonzalez Diaz found the back of the net only minutes after being substituted. The assist came from CCAA assist leader and senior midfielder Daniel Garcia Jr., with more help from junior defender Justyn Peeples.
The Broncos didn’t wait long to strike again, as senior midfielder Armando Ochoa scored on a penalty kick only minutes after the previous CPP goal.
The Golden Eagles stormed back: a few of their shots were only inches away from finding the back of the net. The Broncos’ junior goalkeeper Fernando Pablo Quevedo made pivotal saves late in the game. He finished with three saves, two of which came in the second half.
With six seconds to go, the game was just about over. The Broncos defended a cross into the box from CSULA and cleared the ball to let time run out and secure the CCAA season title. The Broncos’ crowd stormed the field and celebrated with their team.
After the game, senior midfielder Daniel Asor spoke about the win.
“I think we proved that we are where we are and we deserve it,” said Asor. “The team has a great chemistry, our team is involved with each other on and off the field and I think it shows in the game.
“I think we’re doing something very special this year but we’re not done. We still have the playoffs.”
The Broncos return to action for the semifinals of the CCAA Championship tournament on Friday in Turlock.
Courtesy Matt Brown / Bronco Athletics
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