Pirates start strong, before hanging on for 4-3 win

Pirates start strong, before hanging on for 4-3 win

COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College men's soccer team came out like gangbusters in the first half, then, hung on for dear life en route to a 4-3 win over visiting Long Beach City College on Tuesday night inside LeBard Stadium.

The 2019 season opener could not have started better for the Pirates as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead, sparked largely by some first-class play over the first 20 minutes. In the 13th minute, Danny Vargas attempted a cross pass that was blocked right back to him. The freshman forward then dumped a pass back to a charging John Cisneros, who ripped a shot into the back of the net to put OCC up, 1-0.

One minute later, it became 2-0 when Jake Whitcomb's shot bounced to an attacking Tino Varona, who fought off the LBCC goalkeeper and scored into the empty net.

Less than five minutes after that, Coast found success again when a blocked free kick by Matthew Ruiz found its way back to Ruiz, who then sent a perfect pass onto the head of Varona, who deflected the ball into the net for a 3-0 OCC advantage.

From there, LBCC (1-1) made wholesale changes on the field and the new crew fired up the guests, who began to even the play and cause pressure to the Pirates' defense. 

But the Pirates again found success when Takumi Taniguchi slipped a nice pass to Vargas in the 33rd minute, beating the LBCC goalie for a 4-0 lead.

But Long Beach found a spark in the final minute of the first half when a cross pass by Javier Gonzalez found its way to Alexander Moreno, who ripped a shot into the upper-right corner of the net from 25 yards out to bring the Vikings to within three at the half.

Coast buckled down for most of the second half and the score remained 4-1 before a pair of late goals by the Vikings made things interesting. Louis Arellano ripped a shot just under the crossbar in the 86th minute to make it 4-2 and two minutes later, a goal by Cameran Badal brought the Vikings to within one at 4-3 with just under two minutes remaining.

LBCC brought the entire squad up front and tried to find the equalizer, but Thiago Lino Da Costa (three saves) was up to the task and kept the Vikings off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

Coast will return to action on Friday at L.A. Harbor College, beginning at 3 p.m. OCC's next home match will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 10 against Palomar, also at 3 p.m. at the OCC Soccer Complex.