CIF-SS Boys Soccer Playoffs: Another round, another win for El Rancho

Above: El Rancho’s Francisco Lara (9) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during Thursday’s 2-1 victory over South Torrance in the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs. (Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)

PICO RIVERA – Finally, a playoff victory with a little breathing room.
The score wouldn’t indicate it, but after two nail-biters for the defending CIF-Southern Section Division 4 boys’ soccer team El Rancho is one step away from a title game.
The Dons defeated visiting South Torrance, 2-1, in the division quarterfinals Thursday to advance to the semifinals.
Top-seeded and undefeated El Rancho (25-0) will travel to fourth-seeded Cathedral of Los Angeles on Tuesday. Cathedral was a 1-0 overtime winner over Santa Monica on Thursday.
For the second consecutive game, senior forward Francisco Lara scored twice for the Dons.
El Rancho coach Dominic Picon: “This one I don’t think should have been as close as it was. I feel the same way as the last one (a second-round win) and overall we played a lot better in this game than we did in the previous game. The second half was pretty close to domination. I was real happy, offensively, the way we played, especially in that half.”
– John Sherrard
Here’s the rest of the story:
El Rancho 2, South Torrance 1

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  • Steely Don

    Lara’s second-half goal was a thing of beauty, just under the iron and just outside the goalie’s reach, with tremendous velocity.

    And now the boys from Cathedral will have the pleasure of hosting California’s top team, with a trip to the finals in the balance. We hope they enjoy the visit.

  • olddon

    Overwhelming win Dons, stay focus on the prize. Cathedral is a great team with plenty of talent.

  • can’t wait

    Poncho you lead your team to victory with the semis next.

  • Flamboyant

    # 9 Francisco UCLA is waiting..

  • Parent

    Amazing short-handed; Dons are still able to dominate most of their games. I guess unlike the Lakers El Rancho has a deep bench. I believe Mr. Lara is the only senior on the team. Bench play is the equalizing formula for ER. GO BIG BLUE

  • CripDonite

    The other semis, Oak Hills vs Crescenta Valley, Oak Hills beats a great Artesia team in OT. Looks like the very best are in so far.

  • Hum

    Phantoms beat St Paul 7-0, Bishop Amat 1-0 and again Swordsmen 3-1 and Amat 4-1.

  • Hum

    Phantoms beat St Paul 7-0, Bishop Amat 1-0 and again Swordsmen 3-1 and Amat 4-1.

  • Hum

    oops my bad………….

  • Elrancho

    I was unable to attend the game due to my work schedule, is Christian Roldan back from injury, to think we have been without the 2011 WDN player of the year and still winning..

  • Rick

    Last year Oak Hills was fortunate to play Salesian at home. From speaking to all the coaches, I will tell you that Playing at Oak Hills is very difficult. I’m not talking just about the opponent. The weather is so unpredictable. It gets extremely cold. And you better not hope the wind kicks in at the same time, Beacuse them the temperature can drop to the 40’s. If you are lucky, you will only face the high winds. It’s always windy out there. I spend a lot of time in that area. The coaches teams that play out there tell me that it’s very difficult to play there style of soccer. You have to adapt and alter
    your game. They will host there next game.

  • Eddie

    Roldan is still out with an ankle injury. I am guessing the coaches will keep him out for their next game also. If were fortunate to make the finals he should be back for another stellar performance.

    This team is on a tear like no other in school history, they have been undefeated in regular season before. This year 25-0, no ties, only allowed 3 goals all season, wow is all I can say. GO GET THEM MY DONS!

  • Theranch

    Some people from Cathedral already talking big… Go dons!

  • Anonymous

    This one is for a repeat performance at the Big Dance.. So Dons you wont be in it if you dont win it (semis). I know you got what it takes BLUE UNIT!

  • SP

    Cathedral will end el ranchos win streak and go on and win CIF.

  • David vs Goliath

    good luck to both teams

  • Go Dons

    All winning streaks come to an end and so does big talk. Thats why the game is played.

  • NoNo

    The Ranch will be in the final (The Ranch 2-0 Win in Semi)

  • Yup

    Phantoms: el rancho is a bit over rated, not saying theyre not a good team. Their league is a cupcake league with no real good soccer team play. Pioneer, Santa Fe, man need I say more.

  • Goliath

    Goliath is gonna win this one..

  • Richard Soccer

    @ Phantom; well youre getting your well desired shot at the Dons, truly blessed Cathedral family. I accurately hope you all will have a great experience, one that will remain with you for the rest of your lives. Good luck and bye

  • fafafooey


    El Rancho isn’t overrated at all. Forget their competition/league — that’s a moot point. Look at the squad; if you’ve seen them play you know they are strong inside and out, with players who have a finesse and maturity that belies their age. Their scores of late are a very poor indicator of what they are capable of and how they actually perform on the pitch. Their games have been much closer than the final score would have you believe.

    As for the comments referencing David and Goliath, well let’s just say that this Goliath isn’t so vulnerable, nor is it as easily slayed.

  • Phantom Fan

    To El Rancho Fans this Cathedral team is not your ordinary team. They are battle tested and have a deep roster without missing a beat. Coach Artie will have His Phantoms ready for this one. Go Phantoms and Beat the Dons.

  • Jesus Christ

    The Dons have My Father, Myself and the Holy Spirit on their side.

    Cathedral’s prayers are in vein.

  • anonymous

    to yup….you can dog santa fe for being weak in the del rio, but not pioneer. cathedral shared their league title with la salle this year, and pioneer tied la salle 1-1 in the la canada tournament this year. if there was ever a cupcake league, its the one that cathedral plays in. match up the numbers, and then come back and let us know what you find.

  • Barabas

    Cathedral can beat El Rancho in any Sport. Keep thinking you are Great Don’s because after Tuesday your team will be watching at home .

  • Steely Don

    @ Barabas: The definition of PHANTOM is “an illusion without material substance.” I’m not sure if this describes the Cathedral soccer squad, but it perfectly fits your claim of dominance over ALL El Rancho sports.

    Understand, my dear friend, that you have chosen to denigrate the current CIF title holders and highest rated soccer program in the STATE. These are facts, not illusions, so you’d be well advised to redirect your dreams of dominance.

  • erarguably

    @ Barsbas thats tremendous the confidence you have for Cathedral. When two schools are in the same division either school could snatch a win here or there in about any sport, consequently you could be right in that regards. I hope the showing of ERs huge support base isnt fooling you that the Dons are over confident because they are not. This team has shown a level of maturity be on their youth. And yes you are right that after Tuesday a team will be home watching, the question is who, GO BIG BLUE!

  • Renegade ER

    @ Barabas Cathedral only needs to defeat El Rancho in soccer on Tuesday so try not to bite off move then you can chew. BLUE PRIDE!…………….

  • anonymous

    Its gonna be a great game, cant wait!……… Phantoms, Can you hear that Blue Train a coming its coming around the bend and we aint see defeat since I dont know when.


  • Phantom 2

    Yeah right, the number 9 Lara wont score against us. Your best player is out if he is half as good suit him up unless hes afraid. We wont lose a home game thats for sure.

  • erbaseball

    Good luck on Tuesday Dons and play hard. By the way tomorrow at the 3:15 at the Ranch our baseball team takes on Norwalk. The Dons are 2-0, scoring 23 runs and allowing 2 this young season. If anyone can make it out please do.

  • Carlos

    dons it is coming to an end get ready, cry cry cry! Go Phantoms!

  • anony

    El Ranchos baseball team defeats Norwalk 11-0, Dons will play in the Championship game tomorrow at Paramount 6:00 pm.

    Plus tomorrows ER soccer game: men give it your all and leave it all on the field, wish I could be there.

  • El Rancho

    Good job ER baseballs team on your wins this season, take that championship tomorrow and keep it up.
    As for you soccer guys good luck and stay focus. Go Dons!

  • SP

    Go Cathedral Im gonna love it when Cathedral kills the dons at home!!!!!!!

  • Steely Don

    @ St Paul: So glad you could join the discussion; be sure to check back here tomorrow at the same time to give us your next prediction.

  • SP

    Oh yes steel punk Ill be more than happy to dance with joy and no discussion on your soccer defeat. Just good easy forecast.

  • Phantom 2

    Cathedral will win and I have to admit we wont beat the little dons like we beat you sp slime, what 7-0 or whatever go back to your hole my bad pit, lol.

    We dont need you on our side on anything slimesmen.

    Plus sp your baseball division was move down to division 5, how the so-cal mighty have!

  • Steely Don

    @ SP: It is urgent that I know how you are handicapping the finals between El Rancho and Crescenta Valley, because your projections have proven to be valuable: I hear who you favor and bet the opposite.