Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
The El Camino boys’ soccer team went from elation to heartbreak in the matter of about a minute.
After the ninth-seeded Colts tied the score at 2 against No. 8 Overfelt late in regulation of a first-round Central Coast Section Division II playoff game Wednesday, the Royals scored the winner on a counterattack with only stoppage time left to play, turning El Camino’s first CCS appearance since 1986 into a short one.
“I love the way we battled back,” said El Camino coach Ken Anderson. “Unfortunately, we made a mistake (at the very end).”
El Camino (11-6-4) gave up a pair of first-half goals to trail at halftime and, despite dominating most of the second half, just could not finish in the final third of the field.
With about 15 minutes to play, however, the Colts found some magic. Christian Marquez, a frosh-soph callup who started the game and was one of the more dangerous players throughout the game for the Colts, was brought down in the Overfelt penalty box, drawing a penalty kick. Leonardo Silva stepped up and placed the spot kick into the upper left corner to close the Colts’ deficit to one.
Then, in the 78th minute, the Colts found the equalizer, this time off a free kick 30 yards from the Royals’ goal.
Again it was Silva supplying the magic for El Camino, as the senior captain sent a shot to the upper left corner again. The Overfelt goalkeeper managed to get his hands on the ball but, with the slick, wet conditions, the ball slipped through his hands and into the net for the equalizer.
“We’ve been a second-half team all season,” Anderson said.
As El Camino and its fans started thinking overtime, Overfelt (9-4-8) had other ideas. The Royals quickly went on the attack and a pass found Jose Nunez unmarked on the left side. He carried the ball to the top of the El Camino penalty box and, with Colts’ goalkeeper Anthony Graham off his line trying to cut off the angle, Nunez slipped a low, hard shot underneath him and into the net for the game winner.
As dominant as the Colts were in the second half, it was Overfelt that dominated the first 40 minutes as El Camino struggled to string passes together and the Royals controlled possession for most of the first period.
“(I think our problem was we were) being too cautious,” Anderson said. “We were telling [our team] … we had to play with energy and play physical and attempt to fight for every 50-50 ball. To not make it easy on them.”
The Royals did not have too many quality chances, but Juan Carlos Bugarin turned nothing into something for Overfelt — twice. In the 13th minute, a long pass was sent into the Colts’ penalty box. Bugarin held off an El Camino and with Graham converging on the play, Bugarin managed to poke the ball past both Colts and into the empty net for a 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, Bugarin used a brilliant individual effort to put his team up 2-0. After receiving a pass near the endline, Bugarin beat a handful of El Camino defenders off the dribble and then tucked a shot just inside the near left post for his second goal of the half.
As well as Bugarin played in the first half, however, he all but disappeared over the final 40 minutes of the game.
“The only quality chances they had were what [Bugarin] made,” Anderson said. “I don’t know where he went in the second half. I think they started to wear down. I think our fitness was a lot better.”
Despite being outplayed in the first half, El Camino had it chances. The Colts were in line for a prime opportunity minutes into the game when Daniel Ramos sent a perfect through ball to a streaking Silva.
But just as Silva was about to take the ball and break in on goal, the ball nearly came to a stop as it hit a puddle on El Camino’s artificial-turf field.
“Can you imagine a puddle on our field?” Anderson asked.
In the 29th minute, the Colts had a 2-on-1 break with Silva and Marquez. Silva decided to keep the ball and took a shot that was blocked by the Overfelt goalkeeper. He gave up a rebound, but Marquez could not corral it and another chance went by the board for the Colts.
In the end, the game boiled down to taking advantage of opportunities. The Royals capitalized on theirs.
“We had some good chances,” Anderson said.