Pasadena Squanders Lead & Season in Playoff Loss to Cathedral City
By Aaron Valdez
It was just one of those games for Pasadena boys’ soccer as the Bulldogs let their season slip away with a 2-1 overtime loss to Cathedral City in a CIF-SS Division 4 wildcard match-up on Tuesday.
Pasadena High School’s soccer don Cherif Zein, who coaches both varsity boys and girls, definitely had a rough start to his week. After watching his girls’ team lose 3-2 to Santa Paula in an overtime thriller on Monday, Zein had to experience it all over again as the boys were ousted in similar fashion the following day.
Despite riding a nine-game undefeated streak that earned them a third-place finish in the Pacific League, the Bulldogs came out a little flat against Cathedral City. Both sides struggled to connect passes and maintain a steady rhythm, which could obviously be the result of some big-game jitters.
However, an early goal from Andres Cervantes had Pasadena for most of the first half. It wasn’t until a few minutes before the break where Cathedral was able to put one away off a set piece to level the score 1-1.
Second half saw more of the same with neither side finding the edge to score the go-ahead goal. There were some close calls on both ends as Cathedral City’s speed up top pressured Pasadena to commit a myriad of errors.
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs held strong as this sloppy but eventful affair eventually went into golden goal overtime. Unfortunately for Pasadena, its season would come to an end when Cathedral City was able to squeeze one in off a set piece and a scramble within the 6-yard box to take the game 2-1.
“I didn’t think that (Cathedral City) was that good to begin with,” Zein said. “They surprised me, they had good speed overall and they wanted it a little bit more by hustling a lot more and winning every head ball … they played really well so you got to give credit.”
While Zein is disappointed with his team’s early playoff exit, he said the Bulldogs are still very young as this year’s starting lineup was mostly made up of sophomores and juniors.