The men’s soccer team fell to Redlands, 4-1, Wednesday after a costly red card ejection in the first half.
The loss gives the Leopards a 3-2 record in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play and 6-2 overall.
“We went down a man pretty early so our guys had to adapt and make some changes,” head coach Trevor Persson said.
“Before that I didn’t think we played our best soccer, but after I think we responded pretty well but just being down a man was a little bit too much for us to recover from.”
An early strike by Redlands sophomore forward Alexander Knox put the Bulldogs up, 1-0, but a controversial call by the center referee in the 30th minute was the real game changer.
Junior midfielder Justin Funes went sliding in after the ball and clipped Redlands junior defender Austin Moore’s ankle in the process. The referee issued a red card straight away.
This resulted in ejecting Funes from the game and leaving the Leopards a man down for the remainder of the match.
La Verne was able to bounce back 44 minutes in, after sophomore midfielder Auden Foxe received a cross from junior forward Nathan Gonzalez, trapped it and put it in to the top right corner of the net to tie the game.
“I just saw him, I picked my head up and I just gave him a pass and he scored it,” Gonzalez said.
The disadvantage of being down a man however, took a toll on La Verne in the second half.
The Bulldogs came out hungry for the win and scored two more goals within three minutes, putting them up, 3-1.
The final blow came in the 72nd minute and Redlands took the match, 4-1.
“We’re taking this as a learning experience,” junior defender Ferdinand Estrada said. “It’s not going to hinder us one bit.”
The Leopards will take on the Whittier Poets at 7 p.m. Saturday at Donald E. Graham Soccer Field in Whittier.
Kat Simonelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.