BSoc: Mathews’ goalkeeping heroics not enough for Dos Pueblos

Dos Pueblos goalkeeper Alex Mathews did all he could to propel his team in Friday’s CIF Division 1 boys soccer playoff opener against Los Alamitos.

Mathews stopped two penalty shots and made saves on other quality chances during the run of play, but the visiting Griffins managed to get a flick header past him and they made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Chargers at Scott O’Leary Stadium.

Charlie Ross got his head on Adam Havstad’s long throw-in and flicked it into the far side-netting in the 39th minute for the game-winner.

The goal came right after Mathews blocked consecutive penalty kicks. The first PK was called after a foul on the Chargers during a scramble in front of the goal. The second was awarded after DP was called for a handball as players hustled for the rebound.

“We’re been taking PKs a lot in practice to prepare for these things and he’s been on fire in practice,” York said of Mathews. “I’m proud of the moxie he showed after the first one. On the second one, I wouldn’t have blamed him if his head went down a little bit and his shoulders slumped, but he reared up. He’s a guy who loves a challenge; he’s a guy who’s been there for us.”

Mathews and the Charger defense were tested early as Los Alamitos came at them hard after the opening kickoff. Defender Giovanni Paredes poked the ball away from Ian Roche, who had a clear shot inside the 18-yard box in the fourth minute. Moments later, Brett Hall was just wide on a shot from 20 yards. In the 29th minute, Sam Roberts cleared a Griffins header off the goal line before another header after a long throw went off the post. A minute later, Mathews came up with a diving save.

“They jumped on us in that first half,” York said. “They are an exciting team, they’re a physical team. When you light a fire, you’re going to get burned eventually. They were in our zone a lot of that half and they got one in.”

With the lead on the road, Los Alamitos packed in its defense for the rest of the match, making it tough for Dos Pueblos to generate dangerous scoring chances. Center backs Anthony Mejia and Julian Guerrero were solid for the Griffins, disrupting several DP attacks.

“Second half, I was really proud how our boys battled back,” York said. “We put a lot of pressure on them but we couldn’t get a lot of shots off. Their defense really hunkered down in that back third. They made the passing lanes really tight and we just couldn’t find a foot today.”

The Chargers, champions of the Channel League, finish the season at 11-7-5. Los Alamitos improves to 16-10-3.

Dos Pueblos' Alex Mathews

Dos Pueblos’ Alex Mathews

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