Cleveland rushes the net to repel Reynolds
6A BOYS SOCCER
The Reynolds boys soccer team saw its season come to a close with a heart-pounding 6-4 loss to Cleveland in Saturday's 6A quarterfinals.
Down by three goals at intermission, the Raiders took the field for the second half with a sense of urgency.
Sergio Tinoco got loose down the center of the field, splitting a pair of defenders near the penalty dot and nudging a slow roller toward the net. Cleveland defender Joey Vollert crashed the scene and slid feet-first across the turf to knock the ball away, but not before it had inched across the goal line.
A few minutes later, Tinoco was on the move again.
This time another close-range attempt was deflected past the post.
Following the ensuing corner kick, Tinoco found himself with possession on the right side. He played a waist-high ball into a crowd, and teammate Angel Orozco Montavlo lifted a leg to deflect it past the keeper.
Montavlo followed the ball across the line, lifting the net to grab the ball and get the game restarted. Down only one goal, Reynolds did not want to waste a second.
"We didn't want to lose," Montalvo said. "We came up with two quick goals and that helped our energy."
Reynolds almost found the equalizer when Enrique Gonzalez got on a run down the right side only to have Cleveland's Bode Adams swoop in and deflect the ball over the end line. Pedro Calderon directly targeted the goal on the corner kick only to have it sail just high of the far post.
The Raiders' next rush saw Gerardo Mejia get deep down the left side before punching a high ball that wrinkled the net. It caused a stir in the grandstands for a brief moment before it became apparent that the ball had become trapped in the netting above the goal.
"We were getting back to our game, being first to the play and controlling the ball," Reynolds coach Allan Berry said.
The Raiders best chance to pull even came next when Moises Flores sliced a high ball through the box that found teammate Rogelio Uribe Rodriguez for a header at the other end. He closed his eyes to make contact with the ball, directing it to the center of the goal from about 10 yards out. He opened his eyes with a look of exuberance only to go flat when Garza managed to make the save.
Reynolds tried again moments later, this time with Rodriguez feeding a bouncer ahead that put teammate Tinoco into chase mode. Garza read the play early, zipped off the line and snagged the head-high ball.
The Raiders stayed on the attack with Mejia sliding down to swipe a steal out of the midfield. Just as quickly, he was back on his feet moving down the right side. He got in deep and crossed a ball through, but no one was at the far post and the ball bounced harmlessly out of play.
It had been 15 minutes since the ball had found its way into the net, the longest scoring draught of this fast-paced match.
Another goal was due.
And it belonged to the Warriors.
Aidan Burns anticipated a Reynolds pass in the backfield, running onto the ball and breaking into open field with only the goalie in his path. He took three touches into a huge gap and buried a shot into the side of the goal for a 6-4 lead with 13:21 to play.
"Reynolds had shown us that they were not beaten — we needed to turn it up a notch," Burns said. "I saw the pass, got there in time and saw the field open up. I moved it downfield a bit and finished a left-footed shot."
The Raiders tried to climb back within striking distance when Tinoco hit a free kick out of the midfield, and Mejia deflected the ball on target forcing Garza to make a diving save.
That would prove to be Reynolds' final threat.
Cleveland advances to face fellow PIL member Franklin in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Reynolds struck first not even three minutes into the match when Tinoco curved a sharp-angled shot far post for a 1-0 lead.
Cleveland answered in a flash.
Mo Mohamed hit a close-range free kick, which was saved initially by Reynolds goalie Jose Sanchez, but Cleveland's Jett Starr pounced on the rebound.
Not even a minute later, Cleveland sent another wave at the net. Saul Sosa drew a foul in the box and converted the penalty kick into the lower left side to put the Warriors up 2-1 — a lead they would not surrender.
Burns and Sosa each scored on breakaway chances to grow the margin to 4-1 midway through the first half.
"Basically, we didn't come out ready to play. We were second to every ball — no question about it," Berry said. "There were no surprises. We knew all about them. Their speed is awesome, and we let them run right through us. You have to give Cleveland credit."
Cleveland nearly notched another goal when Seb Buscaglia played a free kick into the box, and Burns connected with a header that went into the bottom of the bar and straight down. Cleveland players started to celebrate, but the officials ruled that the ball never got fully across the line.
Reynolds cut the lead to two goals when Mario Cruz hit a corner kick that teammate Angel Vides got on the other end of for a header past the keeper with 4:09 left in the half.
But Cleveland used its speed to get the goal back before intermission when Mohamed flashed down the right side unchallenged on a breakaway and put a shot clean to the far post.
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This story is slated for our Tuesday, Nov. 12, print edition.
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