Friday’s rivalry game between the Santa Clara and Wilcox JV boys soccer squads was a thoroughly entertaining match. Playing on their home turf, the higher division Bruins came out of the gate strong with a glorious chance in just the fifth minute. A set piece from about 25 yards out and at a dangerous angle (a few yards to the left of the center of the goal), was struck slightly high and wide by Bruins’ Anthony Silva.
Just three minutes later, Santa Clara’s Dino Beslagic got a dangerous cross into the six-yard box. A sliding Silva nearly got his foot on it for what would have been a sure goal, but it was just out of his reach.
In the fifteenth minute, one of the game’s two officials made himself part of the story in this one. Bruins’ midfielder Angel Gavia was given back-to-back yellow cards which equal an automatic red card and ejection. The second yellow was given even though Gavia was walking away from the referee.
Despite having to play down to 10 men from that point on, the Bruins still carried the majority of possession. They were also buoyed by two great saves by goalkeeper Jacob Hoag. The Bruins’ keeper stopped a penalty kick and a dangerous set piece from about 27-yards out that was dipping and diving towards the right post.
“[Hoag] is wonderful. So far this season in the tournaments and other games that we have played, I haven’t seen another goalie who is up to his par,” praised Bruins’ Head Coach Tony Nunes. “He’s one of the top goalies I have seen at his age level in the Bay Area.”
Those saves allowed Bilal Hassan to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead early in the second half. Hassan got his head on a corner served in by Juan Arriaga and placed it nicely in the far corner.
“I was surprised he took it with his left foot,” chuckled Hassan on the corner. “For a second I just lost everything as I saw the ball coming. I was surprised it went in, I didn’t even know what was happening. I don’t know how I scored that. It was crazy to be honest.”
Perhaps playing with just 10 men eventually caught up to the Bruins as the Chargers came back to tie in the 65th minute. Ricardo Dominguez, who had his penalty kick stopped earlier in the game, got the goal back for the Chargers. Dominguez used his speed on a quick counter attack and fired a low shot to the far corner for the equalizer.
“He’s our set piece guy, he’s the guy I trust to take PKs and step up,” said Chargers Head Coach Josh Foley. “He’s the type of guy who will make a mistake but will shrug it off and the next opportunity he won’t shy away. You gotta love that about him.”
About five minutes later the Chargers would take the lead after some nice give-and-go passing between Mateo Rodriguez and Johan Basnet. Eventually, it was Rodriguez with the nice low shot to the back of the net.
“That was a beautiful goal, beautiful give-and-go play,” remarked Chargers’ captain Evan Ramirez. “And right into the bottom corner.”
The Chargers would hang on for the next 10 minutes, escaping with the 2-1 victory.