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KYUSUNG GONG , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
El Dorado's Connor Willey, left, and Brea Olinda's Bryan Choe both try to head the ball during a North Hills League match at El Dorado on Wednesday.

El Dorado enjoys its title-clinching win over Brea Olinda

STAFF WRITER

PLACENTIA - El Dorado boys soccer coach Steve McManus is one of those glass-half-empty kind of people, often finding something to criticize even after the Golden Hawks finish a commanding victory.

Winning the North Hills League championship for the second season in a row, though, seemed to have cleansed his negative energy.

“Nope. I have got nothing bad to say,” McManus said. “I am delighted.”

The Golden Hawks used three first-half goals Wednesday to clinch first place in league with a 3-0 victory over visiting Brea Olinda.

El Dorado took the lead, 1-0, when Cole Smith scored in the 27th minute after getting behind the Wildcats’ back line. It was his 10th goal during league play and his 17th overall.

“He is unbelievable,” McManus said. “He was the league MVP last year, and with winning league, I think he has a good chance to get it again.”

The Golden Hawks scored two more times in the final five minutes of the first half. Aaron Tebay knocked in a long throw from Connor Veronese in the 35th minute. Two minutes later, Bryce Imai rolled a penalty kick into the right side of the goal after the Wildcats were called for a handball in the box.

A few minutes after the postgame celebration had ended, McManus went to his usual ways, but just for a moment.

He pointed out that the Golden Hawks could have clinched the title last week, but lost to Yorba Linda, 2-1, in double-overtime. In that game, El Dorado held a 1-0 lead with 10 seconds to go, but the Mustangs forced overtime.

On Monday, El Dorado needed overtime to beat Canyon, 1-0.

“We made it hard for ourselves,” McManus said. “But the kids have been fantastic.”

The Golden Hawks were fantastic again on defense, holding the Wildcats to just two shots while posting their second consecutive shutout.

Brea Olinda appeared to score in the first half, but the goal was disallowed because Danny Abrego was offside.

“I am very optimistic about the playoffs. We have a good chance,” McManus said. “I just hope that we get a good seeding.”

Contact the writer: ddottore@ocregister.com


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