HUNTINGTON BEACH – It was halftime in a scoreless tie, and Marina coach Jeff Schoffield had spent the past 10 minutes, telling his boys soccer team how to build more defensive pressure in the remainder of Monday’s Aliso Cup match.
Well, so much for the speech. Just 33 seconds into the second half, the Vikings got in trouble. Their problems started with a bit of miscommunication, got worse when a couple Marina players got caught out of position and ended when Carlos Gomez picked up a loose ball and scored the goal that delivered a 1-0 victory for Animo Leadership in the season opener for both teams.
David Elias tried to stop the shot for the host Vikings, quickly diving to his left, but the ball bounced just over his left arm.
“It is a bit deflating (to give up a goal that fast after halftime). It kind of changes you thinking a tiny bit,” Schoffield said. “It is disappointing. You can simulate 11 on 11 in practice, but it is never the same as a regular game. But overall I am happy with what I saw. We got to try a lot of guys today.”
Schoffield used 19 players in Monday’s game, trying to find the right combination that can make up for losing Marina’s two top goal scorers in the offseason: Jaroc Marton and Miguel Rizo. Marton, who was entering his sophomore season, has decided to play academy soccer instead, and Rizo is in Mexico. Schoffield isn’t sure when Rizo might return to the team.
For about 10 minutes in the second half, the Vikings had a potent lineup on the field, and had two good chances to tie the game. The first came in the 66th minute junior forward Austin Case headed a free kick just to the left of the post and the ball ended up in the side of the net. The other happened about two minutes later after Josh Media flicked the ball to the top of the 6-yard box where Luis Barajas was waiting to take a shot.
But Jonathan Sanchez slid in front of the ball, knocking it away with the bottom of his cleats to recorded one of his four saves for the Animo.
“We had a good tiny run, and had some chances. It is always tough the first couple games, feeling things out,” Schoffield said. “But it was a good opportunity for us to feel some guys out and see who is going to perform.”
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