Fountain Valley beats Edison, moves into second in Sunset League
FOUNTAIN VALLEY – After two months and more than 1,600 minutes of playing boys soccer matches, it all came down to this for Fountain Valley on Wednesday. Win and finish second in the Sunset League. Lose and the Barons would need to get some help from Marina to make the playoffs.
“This was a must-win game. There was a lot at stake and you can see how heated it got,” Fountain Valley coach Jason Smith said. “The boys stepped up.”
And the host Barons (10-8-5, 6-4-1) beat rival Edison, 1-0, as a result, moving past the Chargers (12-9-4, 4-5-2) and into second place. Joseph Soliman scored the decisive goal in the eighth minute, curling a 20-yard free kick inside the right post. Kevin Piscopo streteched out as far as he could to try and make a diving save for Edison, but he just missed getting his fingertips on the ball.
“For us this was an elimination game. We lose and we are done. That is how we approached it,” Smith said. “The defense came up huge today ane when we play like that, we can beat anybody.”
The Chargers put only one shot on goal in the first half, but Hunter Kling’s corner kick in the 23rd minute clanked off the top of the crossbar. After that, the Chargers had only two more chances to score. In the 46th minute Connor Gordon took a shot from near the penalty spot, but the ball sailed just wide of the near post. And then in the 77th minute after Joseph Loranger, who recorded three saves in the second half for Fountain Valley, stopped Gordon’s header with a one-handed leaping save. Jacob Fuller was there to collect the rebound for Edison, but he knocked the ball over the crossbar.
“It was a rivalry match and we have guys that are playing half-hearted … 75 percent. They didn’t want to commit themselves, and then they make bad decisions,” Edison coach Charlie Breneman said. “Yeah, it was a great free kick, but if we are more mentally engaged at the beginning, maybe it doesn’t happen.”
It could have been worse, though, for Edison had it not been for a clutch, acrobatic save from Piscopo. In the 58th minute, an Edison defender flicked the ball toward his own goal.
Piscopo jumped, but the ball went over his headed; however, Piscopo was able to catch the ball as he was tumbling backward, stopping it about a foot in front of the goal line.
When the boys soccer playoff pairings are announced on Monday, the Barons as the Sunset League’s No. 2 seed, will have an easier draw than Edison, and could possibly even play host to a first-round game. The Chargers, on the other hand, will be on the road facing a first-place team.
“We are backpedaling a bit. We could be playing a San Clemente, El Toro or Loyola, and those are the teams you don’t want to face in the first round,” Breneman said. “We have put ourselves in a tough situation.”