The falling rain in West Long Beach did little to cool the fiery spirit of Jordan and Cabrillo’s soccer rivalry, and even less in cooling off the red hot Jaguars, who improved their league unbeaten streak to seven games with a 3-1 win on Friday afternoon. This installment of the 710 Rivalry featured a plethora of whistles as tempers flared in both directions, resulting in 44 total fouls, 10 yellow cards, a red card, and two fan ejections.

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“It wasn’t pretty,” said Cabrillo head coach Pat Noyes. “But I don’t care about pretty anymore with this team, I care about results.”

The result was an important victory for the surging Jags, who have now vaulted into a first-place tie with Millikan, who have a game in hand after their bye on Friday.

Jordan had been known for their late-game heroics recently, but made a charge to score first in the second minute as only a bit of last-ditch defending from Jimmy Berrera kept Jose Orellana off the score sheet with a sliding clearance in front of goal.

As the game went on, so did the physicality of both teams, and it was a Jordan foul that led to the game’s first goal. Reminiscent to the goal the Panthers ceded to Lakewood just two days prior, Cabrillo’s Carlos Longuran sent a low shot through the wall of Panthers—and underneath a diving Roman Rodriguez in goal—to put the home team up 1-0 in the 17th minute. The chance was created by forward Evair Marin, who drew the foul just a handful of yards beyond the top of the penalty area.

The Panthers would respond, however, as they’ve been good for one goal in each of their last seven league games. Once again it was senior forward Luis Rosales who made it happen, with a charging run through the right side of the Cabrillo box. After faking a pass, Rosales surged by his defender, who resorted to a sliding challenge that missed the ball, but caught plenty of Rosales. The referee immediately pointed to the spot, and Celso Sanchez stepped up and buried the equalizer in the bottom right corner past a diving Danny DeHaro, sending the game to halftime tied 1-1.

In the second, Marin wasted little time in taking the game over, scoring just five minutes into the second half off a cross from Alan Sanchez. Marin used a deft first touch to settle the ball and bring it back to his right, then turned and fired a shot just out of Rodriguez’s reach.

“God, I love Evair. What a find,” said Noyes, who brought the striker out of a PE class earlier in the year, a great benefit to his team. “… He’s just so strong out there.”

As the Jags tried to protect their lead, the physicality escalated, with seven cards issued over the final 40 minutes. Both sides were testy, and with all the whistles the rhythm of the game was thrown off kilter.

Still, thanks in large part to the hustle of Rosales, Jordan edged closer to an equalizer. The Panthers earned all four of their corners in the second half and appeared poised to again find some late-game heroics. Head coach David Moreno made the move to send another forward up top, attempting to keep the pressure on Cabrillo’s defense.

However, the Panthers’ momentum was quickly sapped in the 73rd minute when a red card was issued to a Jordan player for punching a Cabrillo player in the face. Playing a man down, the visitors couldn’t be quite as aggressive and eventually allowed another goal from Marin, who clinched the game with three minutes left to play.

Asked if the winning streak has given the team a boost of confidence, Marin replied: “A little bit. And with more training I’m hoping the team can continue to improve.”

There has already been a major improvement from earlier in the Moore League schedule, and as Noyes noted, “This team is playing much harder now.”

It was a bit of a disappointing result for Jordan, who had the score line flipped on them in this game, as they were 3-1 winners over Cabrillo in the first round of play.

“There’s nothing much I can say, they beat us fair and square,” said Jordan head coach David Moreno. “My players were a little frustrated (with the number of fouls) but we’ve got to control our emotions. It was just so tense out there and I think it took away from our focus a little bit.”

Rodriguez had five saves for Jordan, including a highlight-reel stop in the 21st minute to deny Longuran of a second tally. The Panthers drop to 6-7-6 overall, 3-2-3 in league play with 9 points. That leaves them tied for third with Wilson, who defeated Lakewood on Friday. Jordan gets the bye on Monday, then host Millikan on Wednesday in a huge game.

On the Cabrillo side, they are 8-6-8 overall with 10 points in league from a 3-1-4 mark. They haven’t lost since that opening game with Jordan, and have a big showdown with Millikan next Friday at Veterans Stadium with a chance to take their title fate into their own hands. That match comes after games against Compton (at Vets) and at home against Lakewood on Monday and Wednesday, respectively.

Sports Guy Mike Guardabascio has been writing professionally for a decade, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards and is the author of the historical book "Football in Long Beach."

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