The stars came out and shined bright at the second day of the SoCal College Showcase as some of the top players put on a show. Top players stood out and top teams were on display once again during the…
The stars came out and shined bright at the second day of the SoCal College Showcase as some of the top players put on a show. Top players stood out and top teams were on display once again during the premier event of the winter high school circuit.
ST. AUGUSTINE 2-2 DE LA SALLE
After narrow defeats on Day 1, both teams were looking for, and in need of, a win on Wednesday. And neither team got the win as a draw had to be settled for with the Saints scoring just six minutes from time to level the match at 2-2.
“It’s disappointing to give up the equalizer so close to full time but hopefully we learned from this experience,” De La Salle head coach Derricke Brown said. “Those are moments that we can refer back to hopefully in section and regional playoffs.”
The Saints started fast, finding a lot of space on the outside and then crossing the ball from wide positions. They worked the left side in the 8th minute where Iain Wagner Iain Wagner F St. Augustine | 2024 CA got on a loose ball, found Cesar Leal in space who finished despite keeper Diego Heredia getting a hand on it.
After that, the Spartans closed the space on the outside and started to settle into the match.
“We asked our holding midfielders to be a little more defensive-minded,” Brown said. “Because (they) had such a dynamic and free-moving attacking midfield.”
The Spartans leveled the match when Hudson Merritt scored in the 20th minute. Aaron Gomez Aaron Gomez M CA played a looping ball to Merritt who chased it down. As he got to it a Saints defender and the keeper collided, allowing Merritt to poke the ball with his toe and watch it roll in for a goal.
Hudson had a great second goal 10 minutes after halftime, making a great run behind the defense and Cooper Kennedy played him perfectly. Merritt found himself at a tight angle and lifted a chip over the keeper and into the roof of the net for a brilliant goal.
The Saints leveled in the 74th minute when Leal was strong in fighting off defenders and found Alonso Somohano in space in front of goal and Somohano cooly finished. Somohano had a chance earlier in the match, striking a ball with his left foot but Heredia made an excellent diving save in the 26th minute.
The Saints had another close call in the 80th minute, nearly finding a winner as Heredia made a great sprawling save on a header by Elias Gutierrez after a great bit of skill from Andres Brambila allowed him to play a cross.
A minute before that, De La Salle thought they might have a winner when Kennedy made a great turn and got a shot off, but the shot was stopped by Archie Gonzalez.
Players of the Match
Cesar Leal, the senior forward was dynamic all day. He scored a goal and had an assist, he was a force going forward and pressured the De La Salle defense. Alonso Somohano, the junior, found himself playing in the attacking midfield role and thrived, controlling the ball well, finding space and finding teammates on top of being a scoring threat. Senior defender Dylan Kelly read the game well, was strong in the air and stepped to the ball at the right times.
De La Salle
Hudson Merritt was the force up top for the Spartans. He scored two goals, almost had a third and made good, timely runs, used his body well and was a good target. Rohan Roy was the standout in the midfield for the Spartans as he played big minutes and helped deal with the Saints dynamic midfielders. Lucas Pfister was his usual solid self in defense. He made timely clearances, was able to organize the back line and help keep play in front of the defense.
SERVITE 4-0 BELLARMINE
The Friars took the bull by the horns in the second match on Wednesday, scoring three goals early on and putting the match essentially out of reach, topping Bellarmine 4-0.
“The guys executed the game plan today and we were much sharper today after a good talk after yesterday’s match,” Servite coach Eddie Garcia said. “That led to a more dominant performance. We brought in a couple of seniors in Sam Sanchez and Victor Vasquez because we were facing a team with a lot of maturity and Division I guys, and we thought they could help keep us calm and balance things out.”
Joe Moyer scored his second and third goals of the Showcase, bookending a Sanchez goal. Moyer’s first goal came thanks to an assist by Sanchez, who played Moyer wide and Moyer used his strength to get around the defender and then finished.
Sanchez scored the second goal in what was a pretty build up. Vasquez back-heeled a ball beautifully to Martin Rico in the midfield and Rico weighted a pass perfectly to Sanchez who drove into the box and buried a shot.
Moyer, who sat back in the midfield for much of the game instead of playing as a forward, got some help on his second goal as Freddy Mora Jr. put a perfect cross on the floor for Moyer who buried the ball into the back of the net inside the near post.
“He’s a really special player,” Garcia said of Moyer. “He does everything asked of him, he can play anywhere. He can pretty much do it all.”
The Friars made it four when Mattias Kremer played a perfect through ball for Parker Buetow, who got around the incoming keeper and was able to put the ball into the empty net with his left foot.
For the Bells, they were a bit of a walking wounded. Eight regulars were out, including Keagan Rhodes Keagan Rhodes D CA and Teo Leclair at the outside back position which didn’t help with Servite’s athletes outside.
“We made some adjustments at halftime that I think helped us find our shape,” Bellarmine coach Conor Salcido said. “But digging out of a three-goal deficit is tough. We will bounce back.”
Players of the Match
Sam Sanchez was an impact player, stepping up into a forward role and playing that role nicely. He made clean and precise passes to his teammates and made great runs off the ball. He had a goal and an assist. Joe Moyer led the attack once again, this time playing in the midfield, on top of featuring as an attacker and in the back line. He scored two goals and really wreaked havoc on the defense. He made precise runs and was a threat behind the defense because of how well he times his runs. Rylan Firouznam Rylan Firouznam F Servite | 2023 CA had another good game, and played more of a traditional outside defender. He was more honest and was able to help shut down a dangerous Bellarmine attack.
Rafa Romo stood out for the Bells as the No. 9 checked his ego for the greater good and moved to the defense to help out against a Servite team that was clicking offensively. Nathan Johnston was good in the midfield as well when he was able to get on the ball.
ORANGE LUTHERAN 1-0 LOYOLA
The Lancers and Cubs settled into this one like a prize fight, with both sides looking to feel their opponent out and after a stalemate in the first half, the action picked up in the second half.
Both teams were more assertive after halftime, and Orange Lutheran looked to play the ball down the side more and finally broke through in the 53rd minute. Jordi Pineda played a great ball down the right flank and Hayden Snyder was able to get inside the defender, play the ball to the middle of the area and Jayden Jimenez put the ball away.
Just before that goal, Hector Arellanas cut in from the left side and played a nice little ball to Jimu Lee who was making an angled run but his shot just drifted wide, and just after the goal Mateo Ambriz got on the end of a ball sent into the area and hit the post as the Lancers came to life.
“We just continued to adhere to the game plan and started realizing we could catch them in transition and that created more space and allowed us to be able to keep the ball,” Orange Lutheran coach Mike Oseguera said. “I have to give a lot of credit to our team, our boys put the pedal to the metal, they fought for and won second balls, after that was costly for us yesterday against Cathedral, and the boys wanted to prove they belonged in this Showcase, and they were committed.”
Chase Jones and Chase Younger had chances for Loyola in the second half. Jones had a free kick in the 44th minute that was on target, leaving a nasty in-between hop for the keeper but Dillan Danks Dillan Danks GK CA was able to corral it. In the 69th minute, Chase Younger had a free kick from 35 yards out that was on target, but at Danks.
Younger wasn’t done being a threat as he nearly equalized just at the death, but couldn’t quite get his left foot to the ball in time on a ball played in. His touch bounced just wide of goal.
Players of the Match
Hector Arellanas is a player who is starting to come into his own right before everyone’s eyes at this Showcase. He is gaining more confidence, which is allowing him to be a more free-flowing attacking presence. Jordi Pineda is the heart and soul of this team in the midfield and led the charge in winning the second ball in this game. Central defenders Brandon Robinson Brandon Robinson M CA and Mateo Ambriz deserve a lot of credit for banging with the very big attackers that Loyola throws at teams, as they stood tall all afternoon long.
Carlos Munoz was, quite frankly, a stud for Loyola in this one. He was all over the place. Tracking back in the midfield to defend, pushing forward to help in the attack and everything in between. The two Chases, Jones and Younger, were threats. Jones was a threat up top, as he is a big striker that was able to hold up play and win balls in the air while Younger was dictating play in the midfield and controlling the flow for the Cubs.
BROPHY PREP 0-0 CATHEDRAL
It appeared a breakthrough was coming for Cathedral in this match, as they were looking to knock the door down early. Twice the Phantoms almost scored in the 12th minute when Christopher Garcia Christopher Garcia 5'9" | D Cathedral (CA) | 2023 CA played a ball around the corner to Esau Sullivan, but the shot attempt was blocked by the omnipresent Benny Coury.
The Phantoms received a subsequent corner kick from the deflection and Angel Guerra Angel Guerra 5'9" | F Cathedral (CA) | 2023 CA ‘s delivery found the left foot of Garcia who’s laser shot was saved by Zoran Vignijevic.
Five minutes later, Justin Zapata Justin Zapata 5'9" | D Cathedral | 2023 CA hits the post for Cathedral. Garcia played the ball in and Zapata pulled the ball back, switched it to his left foot but another save from Vignijevic denied the Phantoms.
After that, it was tough for Cathedral to get another really good chance. Sullivan had a shot sail wide before half and Aaron Espana had a shot go wide in the second half, but the chances were fewer and far between.
“Brophy’s physical component caused us some challenges,” Cathedral coach Art Lopez said. “I appreciate my team’s commitment and ability to handle the challenging moments.”
Brophy has yet to allow a goal this season, showing a stout defense, but hasn’t scored a goal yet in this Showcase.
“I’ll chalk it up to great defensive units over here, where nothing comes easy,” Brophy coach Marc Kelly said. “(Defensively) we became really well structured in the back as the game progressed.”
Brophy had a really good chance in the first half and another in the second half. The first came when Mason Snailum broke down the Cathedral defense, got a shot off that was stopped and then Vincente Alvarado’s shot on the rebound sailed high. In the second half, a header off a corner nearly found its way in the net, but David Garcia made a great save for the Phantoms.
Players of the Match
Benny Coury again was stellar for a Brophy Prep team that has yet to allow a goal. Coury was shut down in the back, great in the air and stepped to the ball at the right times. Zoran Vignijevic was stellar as a keeper, coming up with two great saves early that kept Cathedral at bay and allowed the Broncos to settle into the match.
New faces showed well for the Phantoms as Raul Mora and Esau Sullivan made an impact, as well as the familiar ones with Alexander Bastidas Alexander Bastidas F Cathedral | 2023 CA being an attacking force, Christopher Martinez Christopher Martinez 5'10" | D Cathedral | 2023 CA being a leader on defense and Justin Zapata Justin Zapata 5'9" | D Cathedral | 2023 CA being a great defender on the outside and pushing up and joining the attack when the opportunity presented itself.