Pirates advance to second round with OT win over Lasers, 5-1

Pirates advance to second round with OT win over Lasers, 5-1

COSTA MESA -- A hard-fought 90 minutes of soccer was followed by 30 minutes of chaotic overtime craziness, but in the end, the Orange Coast College men's soccer team survived and advanced to the next round of the Southern California Regional playoffs with a 5-1 win over visiting Irvine Valley on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the fifth-seeded Pirates (13-3-5) will take on the winner of Saturday's night's matchup between 4th-seeded El Camino and 13th-seeded Cypress on Tuesday, with a location and a time to be determined. 

After a tightly-contested 45 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Lasers (8-8-3) drew first blood when a long feed from Mehrbod Aflatouni found its way to Benjamin Asabi, who worked around the OCC defense and rifled a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal in the 50th minute, putting the guests up, 1-0.

It stayed that way until the 71st when, when IVC was called for a foul just outside the OCC scoring area and Julian Madrigal stepped up and hooked a free kick around the IVC defensive wall and into the back of the net, tying things at 1.

After a strong start by the Lasers, OCC picked up the pressure and wore down IVC through the rest of regulation. Just 2 minutes into the first overtime, Danny Vargas had a clear breakaway, but IVC's Garrett Hayes pulled Vargas down, warranting a red card and a man advantage for the rest of the match. 

Madrigal stepped up and ripped his free kick into the corner of the goal, putting OCC up, 2-1.

From there, the Pirates continued to take advantage of the 11-v-10 situation and sent wave after wave at the IVC defense. In the 107th minute, a long throw in by Max Copeland found its way to Takumi Taniguchi, who slipped a pass to Vargas and the Orange Empire Conference MVP did not miss his opportunity. The freshman forward scored his ninth goal of the season and put the Pirates up 3-1.

IVC's best shot at a late-minute comeback came in the 109th minute, when OCC was called for a foul inside the Lasers' scoring area for a penalty kick opportunity.

Asabi was given the opportunity, but his shot to the left was stopped by Pirate goalkeeper Pablo Ramirez, but, seconds later, OCC was again called for a foul while trying to corral the rebound and a SECOND penalty kick was awarded.

IVC's Christopher Osuna got the PK try and went to the opposite side of goal, but Ramirez again came up huge for the Pirates and knocked the ball out of harm's way.

OCC finally iced the match with goals by Chase Bullock (117th minute) and Vargas (118th minute), sending the Pirates to the next round and ending the Lasers' solid 2019 season.

Ramirez finished the match with 11 saves, while the goalie combination of Scott Johnson and Nathan King had nine saves for Irvine Valley.

This was the third meeting of the season between the two rival programs, with OCC winning 1-0 on Oct. 8 and a 1-1 tie at IVC on Nov. 1.