The Master's College men's soccer team defeated Fresno Pacific 2-1 on Wednesday afternoon at Reese Field despite having to play a man down for most of the second half. The Mustangs' record improved to 10-1-3 overall and 3-1-2 in the GSDC with the win while the Sunbirds fell to 8-5 (4-2 GSAC).
The first half was even for the most part even though the Mustangs went into halftime down 1-0. TMC played well defensively and only allowed Fresno Pacific to take three shots on goal. Those three attempts were just enough for the Sunbirds to net a goal.
The lone scoring highlight of the first half came in the 23rd minute. Fabricio Nazare had a fantastic assist and Paul Islas ripped a shot that found the back of the net to give FPU a 1-0 lead.
The second half was all Mustangs. The home team came out swinging and tied the game at 1-1 in the 51st minute. Jorge Serrano took a touch and buried a near-post goal from 15 yards out as Jonathan Taves and Marcelo Silva both received credit for assists on the play.
Shortly after that is when the game got interesting. Joel Peluffo was ejected from the game after receiving a red card in the 56th minute of play. That left Coach Jim Rickard's team playing a man down for the remainder of the match. TMC battled hard and possessed the ball well despite losing Peluffo.
The Mustangs continued to dig deep and fight the whole second half, and they were rewarded for their efforts in the 81st minute of play. Once again, Silva and Serrano teamed up for the decisive tally. Serrano took the pass from Silva, took a few touches and fired what proved to be the game-winning goal into the net from 15 yards out.
The TMC defense and goalie Andrew Bussell made that stand up the rest of the way as the Mustangs notched their third consecutive win.
With three matches left in the regular season, the fifth-place Mustangs trail the Sunbirds and Vanguard by a single point in the race for a top-four seeding in the GSAC Tournament that starts the first week of November.
That pursuit continues Saturday in daunting territory as the Mustangs travel to Irvine to take on first-place and No. 9 Concordia in a crucial GSAC matchup. Kick-off is slated for noon.