Late goal helps Santa Ana tie Capo Valley
MISSION VIEJO – The clock had long expired and the Mustang Invitational pool-play game was well into stoppage time when Capistrano Valley coach Jason Sorrell asked the referee if the match was ever going to end.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, it lasted just long enough for Santa Ana to score in the final seconds at Trabuco Hills High and turn a shutout for the Cougars into a 1-1 tie on Thursday.
In the third minute of extra time, Mark Garcia chased the ball down deep in the left corner for the Saints and stopped it just before it rolled out for a goal kick. He fired a cross that just missed Javier Rios and his diving header, instead finding Jorge Muratalla, who fired a shot inside the near post.
“I think we played well. We just didn’t get the breaks. He added three minutes of extra time on there and he didn’t tell us why,” Sorrell said. “We played a good 70 minutes (each half in the tournament is 35 minutes), and then in the last two or three seconds of the game we lost focus. It is frustrating.”
Because of injuries and vacations, this is a much different team than the one Sorrell will bring into South Coast League play next month. He is missing seven varsity regulars. He also had to play about 20 minutes of the second half without senior goalkeeper Matt Bermudez, who was feeling a bit ill.
Once again, Bermudez, who has become one the top keepers in the county, came up with two key saves for the Cougars. In the 15th minute, Garcia made it behind the Cougars’ defenders and came into the box on a breakaway, taking a shot from near the penalty spot, but Bermudez kicked it away.
Then 57th minute, Bermudez made a diving save on a Santa Ana free kick from 20 yards out to preserve Capistrano Valley’s 1-0 lead.
Two minutes before that, Brandon Romero fought off one Santa Ana defender, turned and knocked the ball just inside the near post.
Capistrano Valley isn’t the only team in the tournament, trying to find a way to make due without key players. This season, the Saints are missing Ivan Canales, who was a starting forward as a freshman last year. He has transferred to JSerra.
“When you lose someone who scores 20-plus goals a season, you have to look around and find someone who can score. But it hasn’t been just one guy. It has been four or five,” Santa Ana coach Joe Penaflor said.
He might be on to something right now as the Saints have scored eight goals in their last three games, beating Katella, 4-1 and Orange Lutheran 3-0 before tying Capo Valley.
“We just had to get some confidence and learn the system, and now things seem to be working,” Penaflor said. “We are getting in and getting some good scoring chances now.”