Mission Viejo loses battle with Millikan


SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – Missed opportunities late in the game proved to be costly as the Mission Viejo boys soccer team fell to Millikan of Long Beach, 3-1, in the opening game of the JSerra Tournament of Champions on Friday night at JSerra High.

With the score knotted up at 1-1 in the second half, the Diablos (0-2-0) had a chance to take the lead when forward Aaron Gill beat his defender and attempted to chip the ball past Millikan goalkeeper Edwin Elizarraraz, who blocked the ball right into the feet of Sam Bueras. But Bueras shot over the crossbar.

Minutes later, Millikan took the lead when senior Jaime Salazar, unmarked inside the box, received a pass, took a touch and fired a left-footed shot into the net for the 2-1 lead. The Rams added a final goal in the closing minutes.

Although it wasn't the start to the tournament that Mission Viejo hoped for, Coach Roger Castle knew his team was in for a tough test against the reigning CIF-SS-Division1 champion, a team that Castle asked to play.

"The thing for me is you are only going to get better if you play the best," he said. "We played them five to six years ago, and they're great; we only get better by playing them."

The Diablos scored early in the second half when Cole Bryant sent in a beautiful ball off a free kick into the box, where Reece Maxon chested it down and kicked the ball past the keeper to make it 1-1. Mission Viejo outshot Millikan, 9-6, with four shots coming from Sean Bowker.

Goalkeeper Colin Smith finished with five saves.

Mission Viejo falls into the consolation bracket where it will face Canyon this morning.

Millikan, ranked No. 1 in the division, improved to 3-1-1 and advances to play Leuzinger of Lawndale.

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