The Santa Ana Dons visited Mt. San Antonio Mounties on Nov. 19. The Dons lost for a third year to the Mounties with a final score of 3-2 in the second round of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) SoCal Regional playoffs.
A common theme for the Dons this season is failing to maintain a lead and secure a win. On Saturday, things weren’t any different for the Dons.
The Mounties have proved to be a difficult matchup for the Dons in the previous three years. In all three playoff matchups, the Mounties have knocked out the Dons in overtime.
In the game’s early minutes, the Mounties were controlling most of the ball. After a couple of substitutions from the Dons, they were able to control some parts of the match.
“When I went in, the coaches told me to always be man-marking,” midfielder Isaac Pineda said. “We were chasing the ball too much so they wanted me to get the ball and have us moving forward.”
Opening the score for the Dons was midfielder Joaquin Ramos in the 21st minute. Ramos put the ball in the net after finding a rebound inside the 18-yard box.
Making the most of their few opportunities, the Dons went into halftime with a lead of 1-0.
The Mounties have adopted a very organized playing style in all areas of the field. A tough team to break down, the Dons found openings from counter-attacking plays.
Early in the second half, the Dons extended their lead after midfielder Josue Martinez glided across the field in a way only he is capable of. Receiving the ball behind the Mounties’ defenders, Martinez sprinted toward the opponent’s goal and elegantly struck the ball past the home team’s goalkeeper.
Martinez put the Dons up 2-0 in the 58th minute. This lead was not enough to give the visiting team the win.
The Mounties opened up their score after a questionable penalty call from the referee in the 71st minute. Regardless of the doubt, the home team made sure to cut the lead in half with this golden opportunity.
This is when the Mounties’ organization on the field proved to be the difference.
This goal was the turning point for the Dons, as you can sense the change of momentum on the field. The Mounties pushed forward into the visiting team’s half, while the Dons sat deep in their half trying to hold off their attacks.
The Mounties’ constant pressure eventually broke the Dons’ attempt to hold the lead in the 82nd minute. After failing to clear the Mounties’ crosses, the home team scored their tying goal to capitalize on their momentum.
This was enough to extend the game into overtime. A tough blow for the Dons as it was late in the game.
A win that seemed so close, began to get further and further away for the Dons. At the 110th-minute mark of overtime, all hope seemed to be lost for the Dons, as the Mounties capitalized on an opportunity to take the lead for the first time in the game.
This was the final nail in the coffin for the Dons’ 2022 season and a summary of their late slip-ups.
The Dons were able to turn their season around and ended their run with an overall record of 10-7-6 and a conference record of 6-4-2.