Foothill defense delivers stunning upset of El Toro
LAKE FOREST — El Toro’s Gwen Maly yanked her shirt collar above her face.
In utter disbelief, the University of New Mexico signee peered up to the sky and trudged back to midfield after clanking her penalty kick attempt off the right post.
Two more clanks on the next two El Toro attempts allowed visiting Foothill to win, 3-2, in penalty kicks and shock the county’s No. 2 team in the opening round of the CIF Division 1 girls soccer playoffs Thursday.
“We played, in my opinion, one of the best teams right now, and we were able to stop them from getting a goal,” Foothill coach Steve Patterson said. “We shut them out and we were able to take care of business.”
Foothill (12-9-4), an at-large team from the Crestview League, packed the middle of the field and forced El Toro (15-3-5) to play primarily along the edges.
“They played 11 behind the ball virtually the entire game,” El Toro coach Steve Van Dam said. “ … Smart approach, I’m surprised it worked, but we didn’t finish and ultimately it’s on our shoulders.”
The Chargers, the Coast View League champs, recorded 13 shots on goal, compared to Foothill’s four. They had nine corner kicks and Foothill had none.
They routinely dispossessed Foothill players within seconds and were by far the quicker team. But they couldn’t connect on critical passes inside the jam-packed Foothill 10-yard box, and the score remained 0-0 at the end of 80 minutes and overtime.
El Toro had plenty of opportunities, too, especially in extra time.
Maly and Carmany Jones found themselves in a 2-on-1 situation near Foothill’s 10-yard box in the second extra period. Jones crossed the ball to Maly, whose ensuing shot somehow veered wide left.
Earlier in extra time Jones had a great look at goal alone at the edge of the 10-yard box. She scorched a low knuckleball that barely deflected off a Knight defender and fell harmlessly into Miki Ratsula’s arms.
“You’ve just go to finish your opportunities and we didn’t do that,” Van Dam said.