ALISO VIEJO – Valencia’s boys soccer team pulled one out of the fire on a cold night Monday.
David Dominguez scored a tying header in stoppage time, and Noel Olvera made the winning save in the fifth round of penalty kicks to help Valencia defeat Montebello 1-1 (4-3) in the Aliso Cup championship at Aliso Niguel High.
Valencia (5-0) had the more dangerous chances in the first half, but Montebello (3-1-1) grabbed the lead on a corner kick in the 35th minute.
“It was definitely frustrating early,” Dominguez said. “We were trying to create as much as we could.”
The second half was all Valencia’s, especially late, as the Tigers put chance after chance into the box and time and time again couldn’t get the finish.
“We started building more energy and playing the ball up,” Valencia coach Barry Gardner said. “We were trying to get excited in the final third and get a lot of shots.”
As the match wore on, Valencia continued to get a flurry of chances and really pressed after Montebello went down to 10 players following a red card.
Three minutes into stoppage time, the Tigers broke through.
Garrett Garcia sent in a free kick from nearly 40 yards out to the left side of the box. Dominguez slid in behind the defense and knocked in the header to tie the match.
“Trying to get a head on it and put everything behind it,” Dominguez said. “We knew it might be our last chance of the game.”
With the match tied after full time, the teams skipped overtime and went into penalty kicks.
Yanai Ben-Yisrael, Ruben Cazalez, Jordan Viveros and Dylan Kim converted the first four attempts for Valencia.
Montebello sent its first shot wide but converted the next three.
Valencia’s fifth kick went over the net, so it came down to Olvera.
“I try to stay as calm as I can,” Olvera said. “They’re basically 50-50. It’s almost a coin flip.”
Olvera dove to his left and caught the ball in the chest to clinch the win.
Valencia had a perfect run through the tournament to open up its season on a strong note.
“We’ve seen different types of teams,” Gardner said. “We’re trying to organize the box and offensively get to the outside. This tournament has been great for building our team chemistry.”
Also in the Aliso Cup:
Santiago won the second division President’s Cup by taking an all-county final against Santa Ana Valley, 3-1.
Raymundo Celiz and Ricky Briseno scored in the first half for Santiago. Santa Ana Valley got on the board 15 minutes…