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El Dorado pulls off dramatic OT victory
ANAHEIM – He dribbled past one Esperanza player as he sprinted down the field in the first minute of the second overtime period and then faked out another Aztecs defender as he made his way into the final third.
Esperanza’s keeper moved to the top of the box in a desperate last chance to cut Max Chevalier off, but before he could get close enough, Chevalier let the ball fly.
The ball found the back of the net, prompting El Dorado coach Steven McManus to do something he has never done after a boys soccer game — run onto the field.
But McManus didn’t just stop there. He emphatically kicked the ball into the goal as Chevalier disappeared under a jubilant dog pile, celebrating Friday night’s 3-2 Century League victory against host No. 8 Esperanza.
“That quality of that goal … it was an unbelievable way to finish the game,” McManus said. “And he is playing with a damaged foot as well. We had a lot of injuries.”
Four El Dorado (5-3-1, 2-0) seniors are out for the season, including Jordan Sanguedolce, a Galaxy Academy goal keeper who suffered a torn ACL in the Golden Hawks’ first game of the season. Dillon Lawson, the kicker on the El Dorado football team, was in goal on Friday night.
“They showed a lot of heart and passion tonight. They (Esperanza) are still the team to beat,” McManus said. “They (El Dorado) have proved that they are mentally ready to play.”
McManus called the Golden Hawks’ first two goals “scrappy.”
El Dorado’s first score, which tied the game 1-1 in the 43rd minute, came off a long throw from John Adams. Jesus Morales headed the ball toward the goal, glancing off the keeper’s gloves as he tried to punch the ball away.
That, Esperanza coach Conan Hawkins said, was probably the only goal that El Dorado should have scored in regulation.
In the 53rd minute, Adams headed the ball at the Aztecs' goal, and it appeared that Esperanza had come up with a save. But the assistant referee raised her flag, signaling that the ball had crossed the goal line before it was batted away.
“I am almost positive it didn’t go in. I am going to look at the video. I am pretty sure that one of our players pulled on the net, and the movement from the net, signaled the AR to raise her flag,” Hawkins said. “But it is what it is. You can’t do much about it.”
Esperanza (6-1-2, 1-1) junior defender Nico Magana tied the game, 2-2 in the 64th minute, redirecting a free kick from Alec Afarian, who scored off a corner kick in the 20th minute to give the Aztecs a 1-0 lead.
“This is a tough pill to swallow,” Hawkins said. “This is a good wake-up call and a wake-up call early. They have walked through some games against tough teams, and being on the receiving end of a loss like this isn’t fun, but it is necessary to propel themselves to a championship.”