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Martinez, Apollos capitalize on Skyhawk mistakes in win

Sunset outshoots Southridge in 2-0 win


by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior forward Javier Martinez dribbles down the left wing against Southridges Isaiah Kim.

Multiple windows of scoring opportunity opened for both the Sunset and Southridge boys' soccer teams on Monday.

Only the Apollos, however, were able to break through the hypothetical glass and emerge with enough goals to attain a big, bounce back Metro win.

After being held scoreless against Jesuit last Thursday in a 1-0 defeat, Sunset received goals from Javier Martinez in the first half and Joe Decesaro in the second to come away with a 2-0 triumph.

“We just had to outcompete them,” said Sunset senior Josh Lee. “We practice hard for these kinds of games. We had to compete harder than our teammates because that's the point of practice.”

“We had great opportunities,” said Southridge defender John Miller. “We passed the ball around, kept it on the ground, kept it in the air. But, we had those chances, and we kind of blew them. That's why it ended up 2-0.”

Sunset outshot Southridge 10-2 in the first half, creating four golden chances including Martinez's score from about 22 yards out. Following a cross from center back Chris Dillon, the ball bounced to Martinez on the left wing inside the hash mark on the football field.

The sphere took a perfect hop on the cushy field turf in front of the Apollo senior, who patiently waited for the ball to descend to knee-cap level. Once the ball's orbit was at the right distance, Martinez jumped and thrashed the ball into the upper half of the goal to go up 1-0 with six minutes left in the first half.

Martinez's score was a well-deserved award for Sunset who nearly scored twice in the first half on a Lee header and Steven Rogers' rocket from 10 yards away.

“I was going to take another touch on it, but I was like 'Nah, just rip it',” said Martinez. “I thought it was going over, but it dipped at the last minute and went in. We were more relaxed, and it let us play more freely. We didn't worry about getting scored on and being down one (goal).”

Lee said he liked how Sunset confused Southridge's defense by attacking the left, right and middle of the field on offense.

“I feel like their defenders didn't know where to start marking,” said Lee. “They could've came from the right or left. I think that's how we should play all the time: always create chances and finish them. We got more confidence after the first score.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior Josh Lee goes up for header attempt in the first minute of the Apollos 2-0 win over Southridge.

Despite being bombarded by a double-digit amount of shot attempts, Southridge junior goalie Grant Garcia maintained his disposition and stopped a coupe of point-blank Sunset attempts that could've turned the contest into an early rout.

Martinez's shot went just over Garcia’s outstretched fingertips, yet the junior keeper flushed the score and halted two more Apollo shots in the final four minutes of the first half.

“What's in the past is in the past,” said Garcia. “So, if they score, you just have to look forward. Bad morale never helps anybody, so there's no point in putting your head down. You just have to look forward.

“Defensively we put forth a lot of effort, but they have a really fast line,” continued Garcia. “In the first half, we closed down a lot of their 50-50's and weren't giving their forwards a whole lot of space.”

With 14:30 to go in the second half, Decesaro was in a prime position near the back post to accept the corner kick, and he gently headed the offering high and to the left corner of the net for the nail in Southridge's coffin. Sunset's been practicing set pieces like corner kicks and free kicks for situations like Decesaro's goal, when the game's outcome is still in jeopardy and one more goal could be the difference. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge forward Omar Cuarenta made his return to the pitch for the Skyhawks boys soccer team against Sunset on Monday.

“Joe was right where we needed him to be,” said Lee. “Huge play for us. You can never have enough goals because if you slip for one second, the other team can score quickly.”

Kimball said Sunset's goals were Southridge's fault because the Skyhawks didn't work back defensively and didn't pay attention to the Apollo players.

“Those are two simple defensive lapses that we can easily fix,” said Kimball. “If you shut teams out, you can't lose. It's going to come in the future, but we can only work harder.”

Southridge advanced inside Sunset territory as the second half went along and threatened to tie it up twice in the final 10 minutes. Matt Kimball sent a coiling free kick toward the Apollo goal as Omar Curarenta cut toward the box. Kimball's pass went right to Curarenta in the air, but the senior forward's header missed the goal by inches and skidded out of bounds. Sunset senior goalie Bernardo Palma pitched a shutout between the posts, stymying Southridge's four shot attempts in the second half. Additionally, the Apollo defense of Dillon, Tom Witham and Chris Graves prodded and nudged away some of the Skyhawks' first-rate attacks with keen footwork and clean clears.

“They played with a lot of courage and confidence,” said Lee. “I haven't seen them play that far back this year, but they didn't let anything through.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge forward Matt Kimball runs after a ball in the second half of the Skyhawks 2-0 loss to Sunset.

The buildup to the attempt, Kimball said, was something positive to take away going forward, especially with Curarenta and David Peterson back after missing the first three preseason games.

“We had our chances in the final third (of the field),” said Kimball. “Give their keeper props. He had a couple good saves, and in the end, it came down to finishing. We had our chances, and it's promising for the future. We just have to keep working. We'll get the chances. We'll get the goals. It'll come over time.”




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