John Richardson scored the game-winning goal against CLU on Monday.
LOS ANGELES — Occidental College men's soccer player John Richardson (Palo Alto) seems to have Cal Lutheran's number.
With 43 seconds left in regulation, the sophomore forward broke a scoreless tie with the game-winning header, beating the Kingsmen 1-0 at Lower Field on Monday with his third goal in three career games against Cal Lu.
Richardson scored a pair of goals in a 2-1 win at Cal Lutheran (4-4, 2-2 SCIAC) in Oxy's last game of the 2011 season in October.
His third probably stung the most.
Off of a corner kick, Alessandro Carotenuto (Scottsdale, Ariz.) found Marcus Brandford at the back post, Brandford headed the ball back towards the middle of the six-yard-box and Richardson finished off the pretty play by heading it into the net.
"The ball came back across and then as soon as I headed it, the first thing I thought about was wheeling around to celebrate," Richardson said. "The previous goals I scored came against Cal Lu so I guess they're my team. But this one has to be the best because it came so late."
Both Carotenuto and Brandford were credited with assists.
In his second career start and shutout, Oxy freshman goalkeeper Tristan Cooper (Fremont, N.H.) made a fingertip save in the 83rd minute to foil Matt Hubbards right-footed shot from the right side and Cal Lu's best opportunity just a few minutes earlier.
In the third minute, Oxy (4-2, 3-2 SCIAC) or Cal Lu got a break, depending on how you want to look at it, on a dangerous play inside the Cal Lu box. Connor Freeman (Mercer Island, Wash.), the speedy freshman Oxy forward, was taken out on a break away at the edge of the 18 by starting goalkeeper Rey Rivera-Ramos. Rivera-Ramos received a red card but Oxy couldn't convert on the free kick and struggled trying to get the ball past backup Jack Duncan.
The Tigers fired 16 shots — 10 on goal — but Duncan helped the Kingsmen hold off an onslaught of offense with eight saves before Richardson's winner.
Sakamoto and Keong had two of the better Oxy opportunities in the first half. Sakamoto missed a chip shot off the cross bar and Keong ripped a left-footed laser that forced Duncan to make a diving save.
"Getting three points is the more important part, especially when we're at home," Occidental coach Rod Lafaurie said. "Thankfully we got it. We didn't play particularly well, but there aren't any points for playing particularly well. There are points for scoring more goals than the other team. But credit to Cal Lu. They played well."
Both teams looked tired. Oxy from coming up short on several chances, Cal Lu from fending off a Tigers team that played 87 minutes a man up and both from playing their third match in five days with the new SCIAC schedule that includes competition on Mondays.
Still Lafaurie pointed out that every team has to deal with it and that Oxy's depth could be an edge, if anything.
"I don't think any team has an advantage or disadvantage," Lafaurie said. "For us the only thing that maybe I could say, that other teams don't have, is our depth. But it's going to be tough for everybody."
The Tigers continue SCIAC play on Wednesday at Pomona-Pitzer at 4 p.m.