LA VERNE, Calif. — A pair of controversial decisions by the referee cost the La Verne men's soccer team in a 1-0 loss to No. 14 Redlands on Wednesday night at Ortmayer Stadium.
The Bulldogs were better in possession early but the Leopards absorbed the pressure well. But in the 31st minute, Briley Venti went for a tackle in a crowd near the top of the box and the Bulldogs were rewarded with a penalty kick. Alexander Knox stepped up for the Bulldogs and beat La Verne goalkeeper Josh Ramirez--who guessed right--to the right.
The second and arguably the more crucial call came just three minutes later. In an unwelcome flashback to last year's home loss to Redlands in which Justin Funes was shown a red card on a 50-50 challenge in the first half, Justin Almandinger was given a straight red after a slide tackle in the 33rd minute to put the Leopards at a man-disadvantage for the rest of the game.
After the initial shock, the Leopards settled to keep the deficit at 1-0 going into the break and dominated the Bulldogs in the second half.
The Leopards saw more of the ball, outshot the Bulldogs and drew six corner kicks to Redlands's zero. La Verne also earned some free kicks in dangerous areas but couldn't execute with precision.
La Verne takes its first loss of the season and falls to 5-1-1 overall and 3-1-1 in SCIAC play. Redlands improves to 7-2-0 and 5-1-0.
Saul Uribe had two shots on goal, including a solid header shot that was saved a minute before the penalty kick.
Ramirez finished the game with six saves.
The Leopards are back in action on Saturday when it hosts Whittier. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.