Dos Pueblos’ boys soccer team is heading to the playoffs and San Marcos’ isn’t, yet each school played as if everything was on the line on Thursday in a Channel League matchup.
The result was a 0-0 draw at Scott O’Leary Stadium as both teams worked hard to keep the other from finding the back of the net.
Even with both teams’ playoff fates already decided, it was still a rivalry game and it showed on the pitch. The Royals were fighting for that first Channel League victory while the Chargers were looking to reach the postseason on a positive note.
“We’ve already cemented second place in league and we’re very proud of that,” said Chargers head coach Tovi Eliasen, adding that he felt his team played its best possession game of the season. “I’ll take a good possession game as a stepping stone to playoffs.”
DP’s dominance in possession led to several scoring opportunities, notably two goals that were quickly wiped away by a pair of offsides calls in the second half.
Eduardo Cortez combined with Rodrigo Perez on the first goal, with Cortez’s free kick curling perfectly from 40 yards to meet Perez’s run to the farpost. Perez converted but was ruled offsides.
Perez finished off another play less than five minutes later but another whistle canceled it out.
Kyle Schmechel started the play by getting free down the left sideline. Schmechel’s cross into the middle produced a shot that San Marcos’ keeper made a diving save on. Cortez was there for a rebound, blasting the ball off the left goal post. The ball ricocheted across the goal’s mouth to Perez, who slammed it into the open net.
“It’s very frustrating, it’s what we wanted,” Perez said after the game. “We wanted a win today.”
“I definitely thought we were unlucky not to score,” Eliasen noted.
While the Chargers are preparing for a playoff run, the Royals had a different approach to Thursday’s crosstown rivalry game.
“We’re just having fun at the end of the season,” said Chris Olmedo.
Teammate Vince Viola agreed.
“We’re just trying to keep things positive,” said the senior.
The Royals nearly escaped with a victory and three points when Jacob Coffey unleashed a point-blank shot that needed a miraculous leaping save from Dos Pueblos keeper Chris Castillo to keep out.
Castillo recorded three saves and came off his line several times to quench San Marcos attacks.
“I thought Chris did a great job. He made all the saves he needed to,” credited Eliasen.
But it was Dos Pueblos that had a majority of the quality chances, outshooting the Royals 18-7 for the game.
“That’s the great thing about soccer,” said Royals head coach Brian Eisen. “Anyone can win on any given day.”
San Marcos (0-5-2) has one more chance to pull out a league win on Tuesday when its hosts Ventura while the Chargers’ league season is finished.
Dos Pueblos wraps up league with a 4-1-3 record and hosts Camarillo next Tuesday in a non-league contest to stay oiled ahead of playoffs.