Brea Olinda shuts out Valencia to win summer league title
FULLERTON – With eight minutes to go on Monday at Sunny Hills High, Brea Olinda’s one-goal lead suddenly seemed to be in serious jeopardy.
The Wildcats committed a handball in the box, and Charlie Zuniga was getting ready to take a penalty kick for Valencia.
Zuniga lined a shot toward the right post, but Sean O’Brien guessed right for the Wildcats and got his fingertips on the ball to deflect it back onto the field.
The shutout was preserved.
“Sean is one of the top 14-year-old keepers in the state,” Brea Olinda coach Stephen Teal said of O’Brien, who will be a freshman in the fall. “He plays for TFA Barcelona, and they just finished winning the Dallas Cup, so he is very confident because he has played in so many big games. He came up huge.”
After that, the Tigers never threatened the Wildcats again, and Brea claimed the Summer League championship with a 1-0 victory.
Teal has been entering his team in the month-long tournament since he started coaching Brea 13 seasons ago. This is the first time he has been holding the first-place plaque at the end.
“It is amazing because it has never happened, and we have worked so hard,” Teal said.
About two weeks ago, Teal said he thought the Wildcats were getting ready to “tank” after losing three games in a row, but he called a team meeting and talked about character and why they play the game.
“And we got refocused and got a team that has good character and a good playing style. We got a team that cared about each other,” Teal said. “I told them before the game that this (winning the championship) would be just icing because we have accomplished all we needed to this summer. I am very happy.”
Teal used seven players in the championship match that were either a sophomore or younger. Two played key roles in the victory.
Before O’Brien stopped the PK, Derek Von Puschendorf, who is a freshman just like O’Brien, delivered a perfect cross to the far side of the box where Fernando Resendiz was waiting. He gave the ball a gentle tap and rolled in the game winner.
“We have a lot of talent and we are focusing on having a style. So far they have bought it,” Teal said. “We are good, but I don’t know if that will get it done in the winter (when the regular season starts). We should be decent. This says a lot about our character and style. I don’t know if these guys will still be confident and strong in the winter, but it is better to go in this way than the other and try to convince them that they could do it.”
Brea Olinda senior Danny Abrego was selected the tournament MVP after delivering the decisive goal in the Wildcats’ victory against Cypress in the semifinals.
“He has been a strong leader for us this summer and a strong workhorse,” Teal said.