El Toro forward Roger Howard celebrates with teammates after scoring the a goal against Newport Harbor in the second half of a CIF-SS Division 1 boys soccer playoff game Friday. El Toro won the game, 2-1.
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El Toro rallies to get past Newport Harbor


LAKE FOREST – The El Toro boys soccer team found itself in an unusual position 30 minutes into Friday’s CIF-SS Division 1 first-round game.

The Chargers trailed visiting Newport Harbor by one goal. Only three times in 27 games during the regular season did the Chargers fall behind an opponent.

“But our guys are great. Even when that happens, they keep pushing. They don’t give up,” El Toro coach Doug Franco said of his players. “They still believe they are going to score and win.”

That’s exactly what happened Friday, and James Suri and Roger Howard provided the goals in El Toro’s 2-1 triumph. Howard netted the game winner in the 69th minute.

The third-seeded Chargers (25-1-1) will face Servite (13-4-4) in the second round on Wednesday. 


OCVarsity Hot Shots: Friday's soccer games


Suri moved into a tie with Michael Bryant for the team lead in goals by knocking in his 15th goal of the season in the 34th minute. He slipped his shot between the near post and a diving Osiel Porcayo, who was trying to make the save for the Sailors (13-9-4).

Two perfect passes set up the goal. Trenton Rainone first dribbled into the left corner and then guided the ball between two defenders to Bryant, who redirected it to Suri.

“They (Suri and Howard) have worked hard all year for us, and they deserve everything they get,” Franco said. “This is their third year on varsity, and that experience has put them a little above the competition. They know how to step up and get results.”

Up to tha point, Newport Harbor had used some intense pressure from three of its defenders, Chaz Beek, Cesar Calderon and Kevin Gomez, to prevent the Chargers from developing any chances in the final third.

The Sailors took a 1-0 lead in the 30th minutes when Robert Boullon crossed the ball to far side of the 6-yard box where True Tamplin was waiting to score his 14th goal of the season.

“They are a good team, very athletic and fast. But our mistakes cost us,” Newport Harbor coach Juan Mares said. “We missed two other scoring opportunities in the first half.”

In the 13th minute, Newport Harbor junior midfielder Henry Ramirez crossed the ball to the far post, but Tamplin chipped it over the crossbar. And then in the 22nd minute Ramirez got behind the Chargers' defenders and fired a shot Jorge Rivas. Rivas, however, stepped in front of it and caught the ball to make the save for El Toro.    

“Put those away, it is a different story,” Mares said. “This gives us the learning experience of what we need to do next year. They realize they can hang with the big boys.”

In other playoff games:

In Division 1:

Servite 2, Long Beach Wilson 1: Felipe Silva finished with a goal and an assist for the visiting Friars (12-8-7).

Edison 2, Long Beach Millikan 1: Apolo Rosa scored his first goal of the season for the visiting Chargers (12-7-8).

JSerra 3, Valley View of Moreno Valley 0: Alex Duarte scored two goals and Andres Mendoza added another for the host Lions (16-6-3).

San Clemente 4, Leuzinger of Lakewood 0: Gage Zerboni scored three goals and added an assist for the host Tritons (26-2-1), who posted their 19th shutout.

In Division 3:

Corona del Mar 2, California of Whittier 1: Jack Nowak and Connor Roche scored for the host Sea Kings (12-6-6).

Woodbridge 1, Eisenhower of Rialto 0: Joanathan Lee scored for the host Warriors (9-5-5).

In Division 5:

Godinez 2, Garden Grove0: Eduardo Gaona and Eric Torres scored for the host Grizzlies (13-2-4).

Los Amigos 3, Windward of L.A. 1: Luis Romero scored two goals for the host Lobos (14-4).

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