Rehmani's spectacular saves helps Yorba Linda tie Brea Olinda, 1-1.
YORBA LINDA – Eleven players make a team in boys soccer, but one starter made all of the difference for Yorba Linda in Thursday’s 1-1 tie with Brea Olinda.
Five times in the North Hills League match at Yorba Linda High, Kevan Rehmani made spectacular diving saves, including once in overtime, ending a Brea Olinda scoring chance.
“He (Rehmani) has stepped up to the plate since the beginning of the season. We have a lot of faith in him. He is the difference at this point,” Yorba Linda coach Kino Oaxaca said. “In the summer, he said he wanted to take charge of it, and we have pretty much given him free range in the back. He has stepped up to the plate every time.”
None of his saves might have been better than the one he made in the 51st minute. After turning in a couple of nifty spin moves to slip past his mark at the top of the box, Derek Puschendorf turned and took aim at the Mustangs’ goal. Rehmani was leaning other opposite way as the shot came flying toward the left post, but he quickly adjusted, leaped toward the upper corner and wrapped up the ball to preserve Yorba Linda’s 1-0 lead.
Jake Sowder put the Mustangs (4-8-2, 0-1-1) in front in the 29th minute, volleying in a cross from Jack Benson.
“Yorba Linda came ready to play and played well,” Brea Olinda coach Steve Teal said. “But their keeper kept them in the game. It was the game that we wanted to play. Sometimes goal keepers make all the difference.”
The Wildcats, ranked No. 5 in the most recent CIF-SS Division 4 poll, finally managed to get one past Rehmani when Arturo Reynoso evened the score in the 71st minute.
“I like our team a lot, but getting through league is going to be the hard part,” Teal said. You saw tonight that the teams are pretty even. But we have some quality players and some heart. If we get some scoring going, I think we can make some noise in Division 4.”
Yorba Linda had a chance to win it with four minutes left in regulation. After making a save for the Wildcats (10-3-2, 1-0-1), Jake Allen bobbled the ball, and as he stretched out on the turf to try and corral the loose ball rolling in the box, Sowder took a shot at the empty net, but his the ball was a few inches too high and went out for a goal kick.
Finishing, Oaxaca said has been a problem for his team this year, which has lost six games by just one goal.
“I don’t think we have a true forward yet. I think they just need to trust their shot,” Oaxaca said. “They over play to try and get the perfect shot, and that is the problem now.”