PASADENA — The beautiful game got awfully ugly for the Pasadena High boys' soccer team.
Coming off an impressive 13-win regular season, the Bulldogs hosted Channel Islands of Oxnard in the wild-card round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs.
Channel Island defeated the Bulldogs, 5-0.
“Just lackadaisical,” said Pasadena Coach Cherif Zein. “We weren't ready. We were not focused. We didn't play with any urgency.”
In the 14th minute, Pasadena's Jonathan Hernandez aggressively tackled a Raider from behind and was ejected with a red card. The Bulldogs (13-6-3) struggled to keep up playing a man down.
Channel Islands (11-6-5) quickly capitalized when Luis Juarez connected on a shot off a Luis Mottu pass in the 20th minute for the 1-0 lead.
Adding injury to insult, Pasadena defender Alejandro Loeza suffered an injury on the play and was forced to leave the game. The Bulldogs could not overcome the pair of losses
“We were not prepared to have those kind of substitutions,” Zein said. “Then it was a lot of confusion.”
From there, the floodgates opened. Mottu scored three goals in the second half, as Channel Islands took a 4-0 advantage into the half.
“I told them, soccer is like life,” Zein said. “You have to be prepared for things. You have no idea what's going to happen.”
Pasadena came out strong to start the second half and things looked like they might turn. In the 62nd minute, Juarez threw an elbow that caught Pasadena's Raymundo Alcaraz in the throat. Alcarez walked off the field and didn't return to action, but Juarez received a red card and was ejected, evening up the sides.
However, despite multiple opportunities, the Bulldogs could not get on the scoreboard.
Exasperating the situation, Pasadena team captain and goalkeeper Jimmy Castillo left the match in the 75th minute after suffering a knee injury following a collision with a Raider in front of the goal.
“We did the best we could,” Castillo said. “It wasn't good enough. Channel Islands is a great team. You can't take credit away from them.”
Mottu added another goal late for the 5-0 victory.
Castillo, a senior, sees good things ahead for this Pasadena team.
“We have a young team,” Castillo said. “I'm hoping the best for them next year. They have to learn from this.
“It was a good run. It was a great season, I can't deny it. I can't be prouder of my team.”