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ARMANDO BROWN, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Led by Bryan Ibarra, Godinez starts the season ranked No. 1 in Orange County for the 2016-17 season.

Boys soccer preview: O.C. preseason top 10

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity’s season-opening boy soccer O.C. top 10:

PRESEASON O.C. TOP 10

1. Godinez: The Grizzlies return nine players from last year’s team that advanced to the Division 4 championship match in the So Cal regional tournament, including Bryan Ibarra, who ranked second in the county in goals (27).

2. Sunny Hills: The Lancers return three key midfielders, Amaury Maldonaldo, Ricardo Sanchez and Bronny Toledo. Last season, they combined for 11 goals and 12 assists to help the Lancers win their second consecutive Freeway League and CIF-SS Division 2 titles.

3. El Toro: Coach Shawn Watts said this is the most talented group he has had at El Toro, and he doesn’t see a weak spot. The Chargers return one of the best goal keepers in the county in Mac Hutchins, who was the South Coast League co-defensive MVP last season.

BOYS SOCCER PREVIEW

4. Edison: The Chargers return 15 players, giving them depth and experience at every position. Drew Brummet will anchor the backline. Last season, he helped the Chargers allow only six goals in 10 Sunset League games.

5. Mission Viejo: The Diablos will have a very strong midfield and defense with Michael Oakson and Danny Valiente returning. Coach Roger Castle said Oakson is good on the ball and great in the air. The midfielder has committed to Cal State Fullerton. Valiente “strikes a ball very cleanly and reads the game very well” from the defensive midfield, Castle said.

6. Valencia: The Tigers have talent at every position and return all of thier leading goal scorers from last season, including Noah Engstrom (16 goals) and Alexis Martin Del Campo (10 goals). The defense might be the team’s strength as they have Kyle Kim, Nery Tello and John Dauphin in the backline. That trio helped Valencia post 17 shutouts last season.

7. Servite: Defense will again be the foundation for the Friars’ success. They return senior center back Corbin Mercado, and he has the potential to be the best defender in the Trinty League, according to Coach Jon Spencer. Mercado can score too, as he knocked in 8 goals last season.

8. Katella: The Knights won the Sunny Hills Summer League in July, beating defending CIF-SS Division 2 champion Sunny Hills on penalty kicks, 4-1, after the teams played to a 1-1 draw. The Knights only gave up five goals during pool play while scoring five.

9. Fountain Valley: This could be the year the Barons return to the playoffs. Defense will be their strength with Slater Kucera in goal and Matt Faris anchoring the back line. Coach Jason Smith said Kucera has the talent to become one of the best keepers in the county. He made 17 saves to hold Paramount scoreless in a CIF-SS Division 1 playoff game last season.

10. Orange: The Panthers return eight starters from last season’s CIF-SS playoff team, and will have plenty of speed up top with Banjamin Asabi and Angel Franco playing forward. The duo combined for nine goals last season. The Panthers also added a talented freshman in Andrew Resendiz, who is an Olympic Development player.

Contact the writer: ddottore@scng.com


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