Men’s soccer falls 3-2 in its home game opener

The men’s soccer team suffered its third loss of the preseason on Thursday, falling 3-2 to the Concordia-Irvine Eagles.

Fans from both teams filled the stands as the Broncos made their first home game appearance at Kellogg Stadium.

Despite gaining the majority of possession for the first half of the match, the Broncos appeared to let up at the end of the second half, allowing the Eagles to score three goals.

The Broncos dominated in the first half by placing immense pressure on the Eagles’ defense. 

After a scoreless 29 minutes, the Broncos opened the scoring when senior midfielder Jimmie Villalobos received a perfect pass through the Eagles’ defense from senior defender Ori Kenett. Villalobos then beat the Eagles’ sophomore goalkeeper Braeden Hatt to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead.

“We were dominating the first half, moving the ball side-to-side, like coach asked us,” Villalobos said. “I was in the gap. They hit Ori and he went inside. So I went diagonal behind the back line. I went one-on-one with the keeper and I put it in.”

Senior midfielder Cyro Oliveira, left, recorded his first goal this season against the Eagles. (Grace Mikuriya | The Poly Post)

The goal marked Villalobos’ third goal of the season in four matches.

The Broncos continued their high energy and pressure into the second half of regulation.

Fourteen seconds into the second half, the Broncos expanded their lead against the Eagles. 

Sophomore defender Christian Miramontes delivered a ball to senior midfielder Cyro Oliveira, who knocked it into the goal, making the score 2-0.

“I made the run and saw an open space,” Oliveira said. “I saw one guy and took him on; I just took a chance and it went in.” 

The Eagles did not stop attacking the Broncos, despite being down by two. 

Two minutes after Oliveira’s goal, the Eagles saw an opportunity and scored, cutting the deficit in half. 

“The energy was great going into the second half,” head coach Matt O’Sullivan said. “I think we played very well, we can’t forget that. We dominated the game and then we made the game a coin flip and got punished for that.”

In the 74th minute, the Eagles had another successful shot to tie the game 2-2.

The intensity continued as both sides worked hard, but in the 82nd minute, the Eagles saw one last chance to score, blasting it into the back of the net to take a 3-2 lead.

The Broncos continued to battle until the final second of the game. 

As the announcer counted down the remaining 10 seconds, junior midfielder Eduardo Faria blasted a free kick into the box. 

After some back-and-forth, the crowd jumped up in cheers and the team began to celebrate on the field, as the Broncos had appeared to score the equalizer. 

However, the referee called the shot offsides and the crowd was left with some confusion as the game suddenly ended with a 3-2 upset.

 “I know soccer very well. I’ve seen so many games go this way and I knew at 2-0, it wasn’t done,” O’Sullivan said. “We did not manage the game properly. We started to panic and then we literally gave the game away. It’s a long season, hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and know we can do better than we did tonight.”

The Broncos finished the game with more shots with a total of 23, 12 of which were on goal. 

 Meanwhile, the Eagles had only six shots, five on goal.

Villalobos was responsible for six of the Broncos shots and Oliveira was right behind him with five. 

Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Chaplin made a total of two saves during the match.

The Eagles left the Broncos with a 0-3-1 record.

The Broncos will kick off conference play in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) at 7 p.m. this Thursday at Kellogg Stadium, as they battle the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes. 

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