CSUEB Men’s Soccer Falls to Cal Poly Pomona

Shubham Sharma, Sports Editor

On Oct. 21, the California State University, East Bay Men’s Soccer team played against California Polytechnic State University, Pomona in their ninth match of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament at the Pioneer Stadium. Currently, Cal Poly Pomona has a flawless record in the CCAA tournament, winning five and drawing three matches out of a total of eight. Leading a stellar season, Cal Poly Pomona’s Broncos are poised to win this year’s CCAA tournament. Meanwhile, the Pioneers came to play with just two points behind in the playoff position for the CCAA tournament. 

From the first whistle, the Pioneers’ tenacity was proof that they needed to give it their all in order to qualify. The Broncos played an offensive 4-3-3 formation against the Pioneers in a 5-2-3 formation, allowing the attackers to dominate the midfield due to a one-man advantage. The Pioneers, focused on their defensive duties, relinquished possession of the ball, and maintained a defensive line deep within their half of the goal. The early pressure paid off for the Broncos as the Pomona forward Jerry Ramirez — assisted by midfielder Mike Moser — hit a bullet header towards the Pioneer goal, taking the lead in the fifth minute of the game. Without giving the Pioneers any time to recover, Cal Poly Pomona doubled their advantage at the six-minute mark when midfielder Oscar Griehsel Facey scored a goal from a long throw-in by Melvyn Peres Cortez. 

While the home team shocked by conceding two early goals, they responded by creating goal-scoring opportunities of their own. Pioneer forwards Michael Rossi and Josh Gaeckle were making quick, incisive passes to breach the Broncos’ defense but ultimately lacked the accuracy needed to score. The Pioneers were getting outplayed in the midfield and their counter-press looked weak as the Broncos were able to bypass it with ease. With the Pioneers unable to hinder the Broncos’ advance, Cal Poly Pomona scored the third goal of the game at the 40-minute mark after midfielder Max Laguna landed a rebound shot past the Pioneer goalkeeper Zavier Hajdukovich. The first half concluded with the Broncos taking an unassailable three-goal lead over the Pioneers. 

The second half began with defensive changes from both teams. While the Pioneers were on damage control in the second half, the Broncos looked to maintain the lead. In the early minutes of the second half, the Broncos took advantage of the Pioneers’ weaker left wing, giving Landon Raftery – the Pioneer defender – an incredibly tough time. The Pomona forward Paul Roger Henschke narrowly missed from the left side of the Pioneer goal after surpassing Raftery and taking the shot which went just wide of the goal. 

After negating early pressure from the Broncos’ side in the second half, the Pioneers returned to form with a solid defense, looking to end the game without conceding more goals. After gaining defensive stability, the Pioneers started to mount a few attacks of their own, culminating when Pioneer defender Drew Gibbons nearly secured a goal at the 80-minute-mark. Pomona scored their fourth goal when they caught a quick break, off of the Pioneers’ corner kick. Forward Jerry Ramirez constructed a fine counter-attack which was finished by midfielder Mike Moser. The game ended in a brutal score of four to nil, in favor of Cal Poly Pomona.