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Foothill League boys soccer: Timely Vikings

Valencia needs goal in final minutes to sink Golden Valley

Posted: January 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

For 75 minutes, Valencia High’s Jesus Fernandez was pressured, knocked around and inadvertently tripped a few times.

With a little more than five minutes left against Golden Valley boys soccer, the junior forward was fed up.

He knocked in the game-winning goal to help the Vikings secure a 1-0 win over the Grizzlies on Friday at Valencia High School, keeping Valencia safely in the playoff picture in Foothill League play.

It was teammate Marc Silingardi that found Fernandez at the top of the 6-yard box beyond Golden Valley’s defense, allowing Fernandez to sneak the ball inside the right post to end the long scoring drought.

The goal came a few minutes after Fernandez had an open look at the goal at nearly the same spot, but just missed it wide right.

“After one of them that I missed, I had to put one in,” Fernandez said while icing down his injured knee. “I just had to.”

Now, the Vikings (8-4-2, 3-2-1) remain in a tight race with the Hart, West Ranch and Canyon, which came into the day as the league’s top three teams.

Meanwhile, the season’s first point in league play continues to elude the Grizzlies (2-15-0, 0-6-0), who have now lost three straight games by a single goal.

“We have the talent and we can stay with the game, but I don’t know,” said Golden Valley goalkeeper Fernando Lauchu. “We just get unlucky in the end.”

Lauchu turned in a solid performance, fending off threat after threat produced by Valencia’s aggressive offensive game plan.

The Vikings played with three forwards for most of the game, a strategy head coach Tony Scalercio said he doesn’t normally use.

Given the stakes, it was necessary.

“Today was a must-win game for us to stay in the hunt for the playoffs, and the boys were — I couldn’t be more proud of their effort,” Scalercio said.

Despite the emphasis on offense and, as a result, a wealth of opportunities to go ahead, Valencia couldn’t find a way to finish one off.

In the first half, the Vikings tried to take advantage of the wind with some trickery with a few set pieces off freekicks and corner kicks, but came up empty.

“We just had to set our offside trap and that worked really well,” Lauchu said. “Our defense is our strong point, so we were really reliant on that.”

Going against the wind in the second half, Valencia had to go with a more traditional, less risky approach.

“I kept thinking we were going to put it in, but for a while there, I wasn’t sure,” Scalercio said.

Though Golden Valley took a few shots on counter plays, it was mostly a defensive game against a Valencia team that won the shots-on-goal battle 7-4.

Vikings goalkeeper Gino Ferraro posted his third shutout in Foothill play.

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