East sophomore Rodrigo Amaya’s second goal of the season came at on opportune time, three minutes into overtime of Thursday’s game against West to give East its 2-1 win.
“The best thing Rodrigo does is put the ball in the back of the net,” East coach Dylan Gruntzel said. “Hopefully that will get him on the right track for scoring more for us.”
Amaya had only played about 10 minutes during regulation time. But when East switched its formation to three forwards in overtime, Gruntzel looked to Amaya to step in.
“Our forwards are very good, very conditioned, so a lot of times they can play most of the game,” Gruntzel said. “(Amaya) gets in, he knows his role, he knows he might not play much in a game, but he takes advantage of his opportunities and it paid off for him today.”
East’s offense dominated the first half, and its defense held West to no shots. Seven minutes into the game, Abel Madrigal lobbed the ball over to right wing Nick Cho, who touched the ball once with his left foot before striking it for a goal.
“We noticed they were playing a lot of the (offside) trap where the defense pushes up, so we were trying to take advantage of that, try to catch them on the trap, and if we got through then it was a guaranteed goal,” Cho said.
West looked like a new team in the second half, possessing the ball most of the period and maintaining offensive pressure. With 8:15 remaining in the second half, Wesley Killian finally got a good shot off to score for the Pioneers.
“We knew it was coming, it was only a matter of when it was going to come,” West coach David Cobb said. “We saw their defense was getting tired and they were more on their heels rather than on their toes moving forward.”
The goal set up West’s fifth overtime game of the season.
“The only teams we haven’t gone into overtime with in City League are Carroll, Kapaun and Southeast,” Cobb said. “We know we can compete, it’s just a matter of finishing the game off.”
East took immediate control of the overtime period, and with 6:55 remaining in the first10-minute period, Madrigal sent a corner kick in front of the goal. Despite West’s attempts to clear it, the ball landed at Amaya’s foot and he scored.
“In the first three minutes of overtime we went right through it, dominated, I don’t think (West) passed half much at all — (East) just wanted to win,” Gruntzel said.